davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
Here’s the only plausible explanation for “Pottersville,” a nearly unwatchable — but inexplicably star-studded — new Christmas comedy which is making a brief pitstop in select theaters before spending the rest of eternity in the storage room of your local Walmart: A veteran producer at the Hallmark Channel was at the end of his rope (for the purposes of this hypothetical scenario, let’s pretend said producer was “Pottersville” director Seth Henrikson, whose sparse IMDb credits leave plenty to the imagination). Frustrated by a career spent churning out festive — and weirdly horny — shlock like “A Very Merry Mix-Up,” “Matchmaker Santa” (featuring Lacey Chabert), and “A Boyfriend for Christmas” (the story of an infatuated girl who wastes her 20s waiting for Santa Claus to come down her chimney), he finally broke.
Some scholars argue that it was the 2007 Melissa Joan Hart / Mario Lopez vehicle “Holiday in Handcuffs” that pushed him over the edge; others maintain that he didn’t show signs of fatigue until 2014, when Hallmark aired a movie that’s literally called “A Cookie-Cutter Christmas.” Regardless, it became clear that something had to be done.
So Henrikson —or the version of him that we’ve invented here — did what any tortured artist would do in that situation: He pitched his boss on an edgy Christmas movie, something that could meld Hallmark’s signature tone with some darker subject matter. The economy! Infidelity! Casual racism! It could still run deep with that ho-ho-holiday spirit, but with some furries thrown in for good measure. A warm and fuzzy comedy wrapped around a noxiously bitter sense of humor, the film’s premise would sell itself: “Miracle on 34th Street,” but instead of Santa Claus, it’s about Bigfoot.
He was immediately fired.
But then, a Christmas miracle: Destitute and alone, left with nothing but their yuletide vision, Henrickson drunkenly stumbled upon an abandoned USB drive behind the manger of a local church. On it he found a genuine treasure trove of blackmail, full of incriminating information about a random assortment of beloved character actors. Michael Shannon! Judy Greer! Ron Perlman! Ian McShane! They were all there. And soon, they would all be gathered together in upstate New York, bringing the dream of “Pottersville” to life in exchange for their freedom.
There’s really no other way to make sense of this madness.