Film review: Tomten är far till alla barnen [In Bed with Santa] (1999), directed by Kjell Sundvall
Sara (Katarina Ewerlöf) is celebrating Christmas with husband Janne (Peter Haber), and she has invited all her former husbands (all five of them?) with their new partners as well. She has a child by each and every single one of them – except for Janne. However, she has a happy announcement to make: she’s pregnant!
There’s just one tiny, little problem: Janne had a vasectomy two years ago, which he never disclosed to Sara, so the child obviously can’t be his. One of the ex husbands must be the father, but which one? Cue a very, very dysfunctional Christmas …
With Jessica Zandén as Rita, Leif Andrée as Åke, Nina Gunke as Eva, Dan Ekborg as Gunnar, Lena B Eriksson as Anne, Anders Ekborg as Tomas, Inga Ålenius as Signe, Carl Kjellgren as Erik, Helena af Sandeberg as Marika, Alexandra Dahlström as Jeanette, Stina Rautelin as Helena, Suzanne Reuter as Carina, Per Burell as Mats, and Kajsa Ernst as Pauline.
This is a comedy, but you can’t really say it has Christmas spirit. Christmas spirits, yes, there’s a lot of booze going around, but it doesn’t feel particularly Christmassy as a film. It’s not a family film. It’s basically a bunch of adults having arguments with each other. It’s a farce, but without so much slamming of doors.
If anything, it’s more of a tragedy than a comedy, really. The menfolk know Janne has had a vasectomy, and they all are trying to figure out who might be the father. Janne is on edge, and accusing his wife of being unfaithful doesn’t go down very well with her … or the other wives.
So, if you like adults arguing for an hour and a half or so, fair enough. There’s some funny dialogue. I just wonder why Janne doesn’t just say straight away that he can’t be the father and why, and why Sara doesn’t instantly respond to say exactly what happened. I won’t say who the father is, obviously, because that would be a spoiler, but she could’ve come clean and there would have been very little to argue about. Granted, there also wouldn’t have been a film, but I’d rather people talk it out rather than getting into a hateful shouting match with one another.
And that’s why I won’t sing this film’s praises, which I know a lot of people do. It has some funny parts to it, sure, but I wouldn’t say it’s hilarious. Because I don’t think it is. I don’t like films with big two-hour arguments that could easily be resolved by people actually taking about five minutes to just talk to one another. And I also don’t really like people shouting angrily at each other full stop.
But it’s not a bad film.
3 out of 5 buses.