Not even close to holiday treat

All I want for Christmas is my two hours back.

Over the course of five long days, the large ensemble cast of David E. Talbert’s “Almost Christmas” fights, crashes a car, cooks, cheats, fights, runs for congress, fights and, of course, reconciles.

The overdrawn cliché circles around the Meyers family’s first Christmas without their mother and Walter’s (Danny Glover) wife- a decent if not somewhat overdone movie premise.

But, as far as this season’s comedies go, “Almost Christmas” is one audiences can skip.

Gabrielle Union, who also executive produced the film, is laughable in the sense that someone, including herself, thought her lines felt the least bit natural. Each overused phrase that falls out of her character, Rachel’s, vindictive, childish mouth takes viewers further out of the movie experience. She’s frustrating in her immaturity and unbelievable as a mother. Union is somehow old enough to have an adolescent daughter but she’s still in school, is still upset with her neighbor over a high school misunderstanding, but she’s also a divorcee.

Her pretentious sister, Cheryl, played by Kimberly Elise is a successful medical professional (it’s unclear in which field, exactly), and is implausibly married to raging buffoon, JB Smoove. Cheryl and Rachel hate each other, again for reasons that are never explained, but for brief, confusing moments, that story line drops out and they seem to be just fine. It would’ve served the film better to have had a reason for their dual loathing and even a bit of consistency around it would have helped.

Big brother Christian (Romany Malco) plays the “been there, seen that” character who’s overworked and neglectful of his family during the holidays but don’t worry, the cliffhanger of “will he or won’t he” do the right thing doesn’t last too long without a predictable resolution. In a comedy, Malco, who was hilarious in “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” is underused and his skill for humor is underutilized.