Jeff Garlin has certainly been making waves as of late! Earlier this month, the comedian/TV star came to a mutual decision with Sony Pictures Television to leave the hit series “The Goldbergs” following a three-year HR investigation into his behavior on set. The departure proved an interesting turn of events for the actor, who has come to be beloved in his role as curmudgeonly patriarch Murray on the 1980s-set series, which is scheduled to wrap its ninth season in 2022.
Garlin’s co-star Hayley Orrantia, who plays eldest Goldberg child, Erica, on the show, has also been in the news recently, but for a much more positive reason – her new movie, “Christmas Is Canceled,” just hit Amazon Prime. In her first leading feature film role, the actress/singer portrays Emma Lockhart, a shy 27-year-old bookworm who returns home from a months-long work trip shortly before Christmas only to discover that her 54-year-old widowed father, Jack (Dermot Mulroney), is dating her high school frenemy, Brandy Barnes (Janel Parrish), and that the two are planning to spend the holidays together. Emma does not take the news well, promptly announcing to everyone within earshot, “Christmas is f*cking canceled!” before kicking a plastic Santa across her father’s busy office lobby. As Heather Hogan of Autostraddle noted, pairing “Mr. 90s Rom-Com” Mulroney with Mona Vanderwaal from “Pretty Little Liars” is “enough to make anyone punt a glowing plastic elf across the room, to be honest. But when it’s your own dad? Well, Santa’s lucky his head’s still attached to his body.”
Originally titled “The Fight Before Christmas,” the flick isn’t exactly garnering stellar reviews, nor did it make The New York Times’ recent 100 best movies currently streaming on Amazon Prime list. But if you’re looking for a mindless R-rated holiday comedy to pass the time during these last few days of the season, it’s worth a watch.
With the Chicago area serving as a picturesque wintery backdrop, “Christmas Is Canceled” was largely filmed in the suburbs of the Windy City. According to set decorator Meredith Tummillo, the shoot was a short one, lasting a scant 16 days, during which only 11 locations were utilized.
Elgin Country Club, at 2575 Weld Rd., pops up as the spot where Jack takes Emma and Brandy for a holiday dinner with his golfing buddies. Also in Elgin is the now-defunct Billy Bricks Wood-Fired Pizza Café at 64 S. Grove Ave., the rear side of which was used as the exterior of Bridgewater Tavern, where Emma’s crush, Josh Jamison (Michael Naizu), works. As depicted onscreen, his apartment can be found just above the restaurant space. Drink Nightclub, at 871 E. Algonquin Rd. in nearby Schaumburg, pulled double duty in the film, appearing as both the inside of Bridgewater Tavern as well as the club where Jack and Brandy’s New Year’s Eve benefit is held. And Shoppe The Mill retail boutique at 37 W. Slade St. in Palatine was transformed into the salon where Emma and Brandy get makeovers mid-film.