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How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Dr. Seuss [book], Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: family, holiday
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: fantastical, whimsical
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: ½/5

Plot synopsis Within the center of a snowflake lies the whimsical town of Whoville, and home of the Whos – a magical race of friendly munchkin-like souls who adore Christmas more than anything. Watching down on them from Mt. Crumpet is the Grinch, feared but never mentioned throughout Whoville, who’d like nothing more than to slide down and ruin the holidays for everyone. As friends and family work themselves into a shopping frenzy, little Cindy Lou Who struggles to find the true meaning of Christmas. Cindy Lou discovers that the clue might lie with the mysterious hermit on the hill; after a run-in involving the grumpy green one and her father’s Christmas packaging machine, she launches an investigation into just why The Grinch left Whoville in the first place. She fronts a one-Who campaign to convince the citizens of Whoville that the Grinch, being not so bad after all, should join the rest of the town for Christmas Day as their guest of honour. This puts the ball in the Grinch’s court – is it time for him to return to Whoville and face his past, or an opportunity to put an end to all this Christmas nonsense forever?

Review When it comes down to it, the Grinch is as American as apple pie— and the holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without him. Rubber-faced comic Jim Carrey makes an interesting and over-the-top caricature of the 1960s animated Grinch – he’s bigger, louder, hairier and at some points, a hell of a lot scarier. It’s as though the role (and the hairy green suit) were custom made for Carrey – his trademark brand of physical comedy vividly brings the Grinch to life, though he’s unlikely to convert many new fans who were previously unimpressed with his antics. The film isn’t totally faithful to Dr. Seuss’s book – probably for the best as it’s unlikely that the original tale could have been stretched out to much more than 40 minutes. But the rewrite has included a selection of new sub-plots which expand the story and move the film along nicely, such as the neighborhood battle of the Christmas lights and the shift of focus to Max, the Grinch’s long-suffering canine companion. This is no longer just a children’s film – screenwriter Jeffrey Price has made sure that the humor transcends the age boundary. Most kids, for instance, will fail to pick up on the mommy and daddy Whos tossing their car keys into a glass bowl at the end of the Christmas party, though grown-ups will no doubt get a chuckle out of such details. And thanks to a very generous budget, the film’s Whoville has the look and feel of a fantasy circus, an illuminated surreal snapshot inspired by the book’s original illustrations. No expense was spared on somersaulting tree-dressers or penny-farthing riding band members to give this film that Seuss-like magic. My only gripe was the portrayal of the Whos. Gone are the wonderful, enthusiastic elfin characters of the cartoon, who have been replaced instead by jaded, consumer-driven bigots who don’t seem to be able to see beyond their piles of Christmas shopping. Still, it helps to emphasize the sweetness of Cindy Lou, played by Taylor Momsen, who manages to be the picture of innocence without being too grating. When watching the film, it’s very hard to resist the temptation of comparing this film to the 1960s TV cartoon. In doing so, you can’t help but feel that a classic story may just have been butchered to line Hollywood’s pockets a bit more. But if you’re willing to put the nostalgia for the original aside, this is a great family film and as well as a funny, heart-warming look at the Grinch in all of us.
—reviewed by Kelly-Marie Dudley

Kelly-Marie Dudley is a journalism student living in Staffordshire, England. While hoping to eventually become Carrie from Sex and the City, she is currently concentrating on her ever-expanding collection of shoes and student loans.

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