As 2021 winds down, we have just one more Christmas film filled with cheesy goodness for the Collab. Luckily, we know ourselves well enough to avoid anything with princes, corporate executives, or hard-working single parents. On the other hand, a title with a play on ghosting done in poor taste along with best friends navigating LA and dreaming of tea blend competitions that don’t sound made up at all? Extremely our jam.
Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas
After a young woman dies following a perfect first date, she becomes a ghost and must determine how to ascend to the next plane.
Los Angeles roomies Jess and Kara seem to be opposites in virtually every element of their lives, yet have remained bffs for years. Adventurous Jess hasn’t met a plan she’s followed through on, always seeking a new hobby, date, or job. Meanwhile, solitary Kara is content to stay indoors, making the apartment feel cozy and full of good energy.
On a fateful night when Jess heads out for a first date with a new match, Kara is perfectly fine with being at home, perfecting the special tea blends that are her passion. Though Jess isn’t too thrilled about the evening, she quickly changes her tune when she bonds with her date, aspiring artist Ben. Ecstatic on her drive home, Jess takes a moment to check a text from Ben…which turns out to be the last thing she does.
Following her death, Jess experiences an unusual phenomenon: she haunts her own funeral. The only person more confused in all of this is Kara, who appears to be the only person who can see and hear her bff. Seeking guidance in these spiritual matters, Kara meets with her expert…energy healer(?), who advises her client that ghosts may be unable to move on because of love.
Around this time, Ben begins to feel disappointment that Jess never replied to his text after a great date. After an offhand remark that his sister Mae makes about assuming anyone who has ghosted to be dead, the two are chagrined when they learn the truth. However, they have the chance to make things right when Kara has a meet cute bumping into Mae at a farmers’ market…and Jess realizes there’s one other person who can see and hear her.
But will Ben agree to essentially date a ghost on the chance it could help Jess ascend to the next plane? And will Kara process her own grief and pursue her dreams or be forever stuck in limbo along with Jess?
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
This film is really sweet, and making Jess and Kara’s friendship the center of our story is a good call. It’s much more believable that a close, long-lasting friendship needs closure than a possible romance following a first date. The way Jess and Kara support and encourage each other even after death is cute. On a shallow note, our leads have some great outfits and I’m extremely envious of their apartment (which they can somehow afford in LA).
That being said, the script does have some problems, specifically when it comes to the spirit plane. The characters joke how poorly defined the rules are for ghosts in this world, but it still doesn’t make up for how little attention was given to defining what is and isn’t possible for ghosts. Jess walks on floors but can’t touch or open doors. She can sit on a bicycle but can’t turn the pedals. Jess’s best friend and potential boyfriend can see her, but her parents can’t. And no one can touch Jess or feel her touch…except for when they can. I consume too much sci-fi/fantasy to let that slide.
Additionally, I really hated the end, particularly the last couple of scenes. There’s a scene between Jess and Ben that reveals his death around a year later, and it’s played off pretty casually. In this version of the next plane, spirits get to hang out at a bar forever, which (a) sounds terrible and (b) really cheapens the message of our film. Two people have died tragically young, but it’s all good in the end because they get to drink in heaven for eternity, and this is…a happy resolution? This scene really took me out of the movie as the tone felt all wrong. Overall, it’s fairly charming and a bit more memorable than some other generic Christmas rom-com fare.