December is nearly upon us, and with it a schmaltz-packed television schedule.
Christmas films are a funny thing; some strike the heartwarming tone just right, like Miracle on 34th Street. Others, like The Holiday, drown in their own clichés. But reigning supreme over all other festive films is Love, Actually — the bland, star-studded romantic comedy from the pen of Richard Curtis.
For a certain kind of person, snuggling up on the sofa to watch Love, Actually is a genuine pleasure. For the rest of us, I’ve devised a means of getting through it. Presenting your new favourite Christmas tradition; the Love, Actually drinking game!
Disclaimer #1: Spoilers for the plot will follow. Although really, this film came out in 2003 so if you haven’t seen it by now you really only have yourself to blame.
Disclaimer #2: Style Birmingham takes no responsibility for any liver damage incurred while playing this drinking game. Always consume responsibly.
Let’s start you off slowly. Take a sip every time:
- Two people hug in an airport.
- Keira Knightley remains oblivious to Andrew Lincoln’s inappropriate behaviour (down an extra finger’s worth if she’s wearing something ugly on her head at the time).
- Somebody makes a snide remark about poor Martine McCutcheon’s weight.
- You remember that Liam Neeson’s wife died in real life and then you feel bad for rolling your eyes during the funeral scene at the beginning.
- Alan Rickman’s home-wrecking strumpet of an assistant says something which she intends to be flirty but comes out desperate.
- There is an “amusing” moment of mistranslation between Colin Firth and his Portuguese housekeeper.
OK, time to taking things up a notch. Drink three fingers every time:
- Mr Bean obstructs the plot in some ditheringly congenial way.
- Laura Linney is cock-blocked by a phone call from her brother.
- Your mind begins to wander, and you imagine how much cooler this film would be if Liam Neeson were playing his character from Taken.
- You start Googling “sexual harassment settlements” on your phone because Alan Rickman is running the most inappropriate workplace of all time. (Come to think of it, the Portuguese housekeeper could take Colin Firth to the cleaners too.)
- You find yourself wishing that Billy Bob Thornton were the actual President of the United States because literally anything would be an improvement on Donald Trump.
- You get distracted during Bill Nighy’s storyline by trying to remember the last year you actually knew what the Christmas Number 1 was.
- Emma Thompson acts circles around everyone else in this film because it might be festive garbage but she is an artist, damn it.
- You get a headache trying to remember how all of these characters, who are spread out across the nation’s capital, know each other. (This would make much more sense if the film were set in Birmingham).
- You point out to your friend for the millionth time that Hugh Grant’s narration already established this film takes place post-9/11 and therefore it should not be this easy to run through airport security and make a romantic proclamation.
And if you’re still conscious, down your entire drink every time:
- Somebody makes a bold romantic statement in public. (This includes placards.)
- Or there is a big musical number.
- Or a montage.
Finally, drink some water and go to bed. Your head is going to hurt tomorrow.