Movie slogans are passwords: everyone has their favorite. It's well worth trying "There is no Mr. Bunny!" on someone you like to see if they have a warm spot for this nigh-forgotten 1984 seasonal movie, Comfort and Joy. Completely unique, utterly understated and perhaps slightly depressing, Comfort and Joy fits in with those Christmases where not everything is going as planned.
The fatuous morning drive-time radio DJ Alan Bird (Bill Paterson) is first seen following his daredevil girlfriend Maddy (Eleanor David) as she goes on a holiday shoplifting spree. Right after decorating the Christmas tree with loops of stolen lights, she decides, without preamble, to leave. And she takes everything with her but the mortgage. (Looking for a silver lining, Bird says "She left the washing machine. That could be a good sign. ...") With his emotional support gone, the weight of Alan's life starts to tumble in on him. Getting up and doing the "Dickie Bird" show, bringing an array of strict-tempo scottisches and Dean Martin songs to listeners in West Central Scotland, no longer charms Bird as it once did. To Forsyth and Paterson's credit, the emotional sagging is signaled between the lines, in self-aimed quips, as the holiday approaches ... as it will, whether we're in the mood for it or not.