I’m not going to say that Genie is the perfect holiday movie. That doesn’t seem to be the intent here, but the new Melissa McCarthy vehicle, in which she plays a genie who can grant unlimited wishes, is chock full of some food ol’ Christmas cheer. Best of all, you don’t have to leave the house to catch the family film as it is streaming on Peacock, so keep the fireplaces burning bright, pour some wine, and settle in as Peacock tries to one-up Hallmark at its own game.

"a lightweight comedy that is a good fit for the Christmas season"

Genie, directed by Sam Boyd and written by Richard Curtis (yes, THAT Richard Curtis), is about a workaholic father (Paapa Essiedu) who loses his wife (Denée Benton) and his child (Jordyn McIntosh) because he can’t tell his boss (Alan Cumming) NO and winds up working extra hours to please a client, missing Eve’s birthday completely. Wanting to make it up to her, he winds up befriending Flora (McCarthy), a genie he discovers in this fairy tale comedy.

The film is what it is: a lightweight comedy that is a good fit for the Christmas season based on McCarthy’s jolly presence and her comedic timing. Essiedu also brings much pathos to the drama of his estrangement as he keeps his performance at a basic level, hitting a homerun when he needs to and letting us enjoy the performance as things go from bad to worse thanks to McCarthy’s antics - to be fair, she is granting his wishes - and then, at the last minute, getting ironed out . . . with a whole lot of unexpected heartwarming moments.

Curtis, working from his own 1991 script from a BBC production of Bernard and the Genie, tightens up the gags for American audiences and proves, once again, to be as authentic as possible for the yuletide season. Nothing about the script is brilliant, mind you, but thanks to McCarthy’s efforts to find ways to shine in her performance of a genie who has been trapped in a Genie

Co-starring Marc Maron and Luis Guzman (both who damn near steal the show), Genie tackles some serious issues (trial separation) when Bernard, working for that ugly boss of his, forgets all about his daughter’s birthday, yet it remains lighthearted when Flora arrives on the scene to offer some sort of temporary happiness for him as he struggles with the fallout. At first, the wishes are silly, but as he sees that they are granted, he tries to fix what happened on that fateful night when his boss came in to demand even more from him. The results are hilarious.

Complete with a stolen Mona Lisa subplot. Genie does what it can to lift our spirits this holiday season. You might wish it was funnier . . . even messier in a lot of places as one can never truly change another person from the outside (which becomes a lesson learned for Bernard), but there’s no denying that this lighthearted affair has its moments.

Genie is now streaming on Peacock. What’s your wish?

3/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: PG.
93 mins
: Sam Boyd
Richard Curtis
Melissa McCarthy; Paapa Essiedu; Denée Benton
: Comedy | Fantasy

Memorable Movie Quote:
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 22, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The film is a fairy-tale comedy about a workaholic man who enlists the help of a magical genie to help win his family back before Christmas.