Bad Movie Review (Extra Life 2018) – Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special

The Bad Movie Review series of posts are a set of posts written as the result of meeting a $1,200 stretch goal for Extra Life, an annual 24-hour video gaming charity marathon event that benefits children’s hospitals.

Part of the bizarre nature of Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, which was really a Christmas special from 2017, is trying to figure out just how serious Michael Bolton was being in his rather tongue-in-cheek performance. On the one hand, the movie is clearly a comedy sketch extended to an hour, an SNL-like springboard into what will hopefully be seen as absurdly charming. But on the other, Bolton’s delivery of some of the lines he’s been given to create comedy effect sound like they’re being read off of a teleprompter, with a delivery more wooden than Pinocchio. Maybe that’s part of the comedy effect. Maybe it’s just an unintentional side effect of something already off the wall. That’s probably part of the reason people get curious to watching this Netflix-only feature. I’m still not too sure.

Either way, the premise is as thin as my wallet after paying my bills every month – Santa’s elves have made too many toys, so instead of wasting them, he personally asks Michael Bolton to put together a Valentine’s Day special in advance of the upcoming holiday, hoping that the timing will result in children ready to receive the toys by Christmas. Bolton comes up with the brilliant idea of running it like a telethon, keeping a counter of how many kids have been confirmed conceived while using his big, sexy crooner/balladeer image to encourage watchers to get in on in the name of saving Christmas.

We should safely put aside reality when watching this carnival of carnal encouragement, such as how people who actually watch during the telethon are able to confirm immediately that they’ve got a bun in the oven, why singing about pubes and outing butt eating fetishes are viable methods for getting more callers, and why Kenny G still hasn’t cut his hair (the brief, 3 second cameo by the actual Kenny G, rather than Adam Samberg playing Kenny G, is all the confirmation you need). When you do that, the special becomes only slightly more bearable to watch.

The result is a sort of hit-and-miss roller coaster of Bolton-song-fueled emotion, delivered with equal parts hamminess and actual voice talent as only Bolton can offer. There’s a few cynics out there that will say that this is Bolton reaching just a little too far and making an attempt to stay relevant, plying his on screen self-effacing attitude about that relevance to get a spotlight and a bit more of a payday. But there’s no way that I’m going to give him too much shit about it even if this really is the case. Bolton has 9 no. 1 singles to his name, a bunch of albums, and probably plenty of money from not participating in actually serious desperate attempts to stay in the limelight. He doesn’t really need to do this, but I get the feeling he enjoyed making fun of his bygone era of love ballads so much that this seemed like something different and refreshing. In that respect, you can almost call his Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day special passable watching. Almost.

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