How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 10 Beans
here's really not much left to be said about Ron Howard's big-screen, bigger-budget fiasco "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (or simply "The Grinch," according to all the movie posters). However, it simply cannot be overstated that this is a horrible, horrible movie. It served to remind me why I didn't like Jim Carrey's films until he did "The Cable Guy." It would also have reminded me that the best stories don't need to be done up Hollywood-style to be good year after year, but I never forgot that.
Obviously, everyone working on this film did.
Remember in Dr. Seuss' book when The Grinch belched in the face of one of the Whos, and then that Who fell over because the belch stank so badly? No? How about when The Grinch stuck his dog's ass in the Mayor Who's face, and then the Mayor kissed it? No? Okay, last try: Remember when The Grinch stuck his face in between the breasts of the rich lady Who? You don't? Ah, gee... that's no good.
"The Grinch" seems to be torn in so many different directions that it's no wonder it's such an awful mess. On the one hand, it wants to be a real re-creation of an animated classic. On the other, it wants *desperately* to appeal to adults who have grown up with the story and who now expect some adult in-jokes in their children's entertainment. And finally, Jim Carrey. Honestly, he wouldn't have been bad if he'd been a bit restrained, but The Grinch doesn't seem at all like The Grinch. He seems like Jim Carrey under piles of makeup; in other words, not really like The Grinch at all.
The final product of this all these misguided intentions is a film that is brightly-colored and shrill, loud and often crude, and overbearingly hypocritical. Early on, there's a scene of all the Whos making fools of themselves by buying a lot of stuff and spending too much time focusing on material things. If you left the theater and walked into any toy store, you would be choked by the amount of Grinch merchandise on the shelves. Hmm.
There are, every so often, things that actually might shock a surprised chuckle out of the audience, but such moments are few and far between. Most of the film is cheap, loud, and obvious. There's entirely too much "adult" humour (boob jokes, the Whos having a key party, etc.), and the whole thing smacks of over-marketed, hyper-demographicked (new word) trash.
If you're looking for a truly unusual and entertaining Christmas film, seek out Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." It manages to be entertaining for all audiences, while not condescending to anyone. Plus it's imaginative and interesting, two things this film should have been for it to work.
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