Cine Europa Movie Review: Prijde letos Jezísek? (Little Baby Jesus)

Prijde letos Jezísek? lies to its audience as much as its characters lie to their spouses – its a convoluted, generic and forgettable soap opera sugar-coated with Christmas icing.

Charming 60-something José (Josef Abrhám) returns to Prague after 30 years living in Mexico, though he was convinced that he would never see his hometown again. He was persuaded by his deeply religious Mexican wife Dolores (Dolores Heredia), who is convinced that only a miracle that might be fulfilled by Prague’s famous Infant Jesus can help their daughter Penelopé (Aislinn Derbez) get pregnant. And the ideal time for this is Christmas. And when Ruda (Václav Postránecký), his friend from Prague, also insists, José agrees to return to the places he used to know and to the memories that they bring back – including his former Prague love Kveta (Libuse Safránková). And it becomes evident that the Infant Jesus is not the only one capable of making miracles come true in Prague.

Prijde letos Jezísek? translates to Father Christmas will come this year? according to Google, but the movie is alternately called Little Baby Jesus according to IMDB and 18th Cine Europa Festival.

It doesn’t matter anyway, because this movie isn’t really about Christmas, miracles nor little baby Jesus. The movie is religious but only to remind the audience that the film is celebrating the Christmas spirit.

It’s confusing plot revolves around two families who are connected through stereotypical soap opera shenanigans – secret meetings with an old flame and a possible kid out of wedlock. Apart from an invisible entity that leaves footprints in the snow there’s no Christmas miracle that changes the lives of the characters. There is a statue of little baby Jesus tied to the narrative, but its just an excuse to send them back to Prague where family schemes ensue.

The characters are all made to be likeable to distract you from what’s really going on. Two stand out at least and liven up the plot. Both Dolores and Kveta want to do the right thing, but end up with unintended results that has amusing moments. Dolores Heredia exudes grace and poise that lends her character an endearing sophistication. Libuse Safránková adds emotional heft to the story. The rest of the cast are forgettable.

There are some nice scenery here but how the lead and his family execute their schemes without any consequences and then treat it as lighthearted entertainment is strange. What would have happened if that gate wasn’t locked just like in the old days between José and Kveta? Penelopé is far more lucky this time of the season though, as her botched plan to take her “friend” to Franz Spa didn’t matter in the end.

The premise resolves with nothing short of a supernatural miracle, just the old fashioned biological wonder of Science. There’s a happy ending for the characters but it hides a reality that the movie tries to mask with tradition.

Prijde letos Jezísek? is a misleading movie that leaves a questionable lesson. Apparently it’s okay to stray during a holiday as long as the affected parties has no clue and compensated. After all its Christmas!

Ironically, how this movie treats its theme is realistic. Just like how the movie uses a religious holiday to gloss over the truth, people take advantage of the situation for self-serving reasons under the shroud of love and faith. Whether that’s intended or not, is the only thing about this movie that rings true. But this is not a lesson you’d want to teach your kids during Christmas.

My Rating: 3/10

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