The line on the jacket for Holiday Hypnosis is "A holiday to forget!" and it is the most honest summary of a movie I have every read. Basically, Holiday Hypnosis is a low budget made in Canada movie with a good premise and lousy follow through. This holiday comedy actually made me cringe.
The premise of Holiday Hypnosis is furniture salesman James (the bloody awful James Hartnett) is nervous about meeting his fiancé's (the very cute Lauren Kurtz) family over the holidays. At an overly long Christmas office party (as in the filmmakers figured if they had to lay out money for a Xmas party might as well make it last on the screen) James asks 11 year old hypnotist Marvin the Magician (an interesting performance by Ben Deverett) to put him under and suggest he will be okay when he meets the family. While the hypnotist has James under his spell, he learns he got stiffed on his fee and it is James fault. The hypnotist gets even by implanting some unknown to the viewer suggestion in James and the movie goes on from there.
A generous viewer would have forgiven the overly long Christmas party scene, the uneven sound quality, and the other flaws normally associated with a very small budget production. No viewer will forgive Hartnett's performance from the minute he meets Lauren's grandmother. This is simply bad, bad, bad acting. It is as if Hartnett has seen all the worse sketches on Saturday Night Live and learned his acting style from the worst of the characters in those bad sketches.
You watch the other actors react to Hartnett's character and you have to wonder how they managed to get through the scene alive. Either that or director Sean Cisterna ... well, I have no idea how he managed to let this performance stay. This is really a shame because as low budget movies go Holiday Hypnosis would have been pretty decent otherwise, I hope, if the ending had been changed.
Holiday Hypnosis: You'll need some to get over this experience