Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Taylor Momsen
Director: Ron Howard
Running Time: 104 mins
How The Grinch Stole Christmas is an American film about a miserly and vengeful grinch living on the outskirts of Whoville, who plans to ruin the festivities for all the people in the town below.
On the one hand, this is a really fun and light-hearted family Christmas movie, with a very energetic lead performance from Jim Carrey and great production design. On the other, it’s not quite the all-round Christmas movie, as it doesn’t have that same warm, cosy atmosphere that the best festive films do, while also struggling to provide a story with a little bit more depth and intrigue to it.
Let’s start with the positives, the best of which has to be Jim Carrey’s performance. Although this actually isn’t his most insane or bizarre performance, he’s really hyper and energetic throughout the movie, making the Grinch a really fun and likable lead, even if he’s a bad guy who hates Christmas, and adding to the blockbuster entertainment factor of the movie as a whole.
Carrey’s on-screen energy is a huge amount of fun to watch, and easily the funniest part of the whole movie, but his costume also works wonders to make the film even more enjoyable. The costume and makeup teams deserve real praise for their work in this movie, as the Grinch appears as gnarled and nasty-looking a creature as you’d expect, and yet still feels cartoonish and silly enough to be just as much fun to watch as he is grinchy, something I was really impressed by throughout.
The entertainment factor of this movie doesn’t just come from the Grinch, however, as it’s also a generally very light-hearted, family-friendly and all-round simply fun watch. Playing off some of the classic tropes of Dr. Seuss from time to time, and then building on that with the delightful Winter Wonderland sets in Whoville, and a selection of enjoyable supporting performances too, it feels like a slightly simpler and more friendly version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, and although I can’t say it filled me with the same sense of wonderment, it definitely has the same level of family fun to it throughout.
With all that said, and as much fun as I had with How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I still can’t say it’s a really brilliant film. It’s fun throughout, although it’s not a hugely entertaining movie at every moment, never managing to really make me laugh beyond a chuckle, albeit keeping me smiling through. As nice as it is, there’s something a little too light about it to be able to offer really captivating entertainment.
And what’s more is that it’s not an all-encompassing festive movie. It has some very pleasant and family-friendly vibes about it, but the fact remains that it’s just not as beautifully cosy or warm as some of the best Christmas films, and doesn’t even match up to the festive feel of the original it’s based on.
Overall, I had some good fun with How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s not a perfect film, and it’s not endlessly entertaining or exceptionally warm, but it’s still a very pleasant and enjoyable movie with a great central performance and brilliant production design throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3.