Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022November 2022
News Every Day |

‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ Review: Another Forgettable Entry in the Holiday Sequel Annals

When Bob Clark’s “A Christmas Story” hit theaters the week before Thanksgiving 1983, no one could have foreseen the cultural impact the family comedy would have on the holiday film canon. A modest box office showing (it took in $2 million its first week and failed to crack $20 million during its full run), mixed reviews, and some awards attention from Canada’s Genie Awards added up to a hazy picture of a film that was good enough but hardly a game-changer. Later, of course, came the television airings, landing the film in near-constant rotation during the holiday season and turning it into an unexpected holiday favorite. Familiarity, it seems, didn’t breed contempt when it came to this TNT and TBS staple; it only inspired outright adoration.

Nearly 40 years after the film’s initial release — and just in time to capitalize on those same TV showings that will carry it through the next six weeks — comes the inevitable: a sequel. There’s certainly fertile ground to cover here, as both Clay Kaytis’ clunkily titled “A Christmas Story Christmas” and its predecessor were inspired by Jean Shepherd’s sprawling “Parker Family Saga,” based on the author’s own stories, which in turn led to books, radio plays, movies (including “A Christmas Story 2,” which does not exist in this new timeline), and much more.

And yet, despite the apparent warmth with which Kaytis, co-screenwriter Nick Schenk, and returning star and co-writer Peter Billingsley approach the material, whatever magic propelled the original to holiday film canon glory is sorely lacking. Also lacking: availability. Thanks to the magic of contractual agreements, the streaming-only feature will likely never appear in rotation on the same cable channels that made the original such a hit. Instead, it will exist as a curiosity only available to the HBO Max subscriber faithful and the Parker family super-fans who seek it out. Forgettable in execution and convoluted in availability? It’s enough to make a fan want to shoot their eye out.

Set in the ’70s, “A Christmas Story Christmas” finds our hero Ralphie (Billingsley) taking on the role of patriarch of the Parker family. He’s a husband and father, a struggling writer, and things are challenging even before he gets some heartbreaking news: his father (aka The Old Man) passed away just days before Christmas. Suddenly, making the holiday bright isn’t just an ideal to strive for; it’s the only thing that can cheer up his heartbroken family, particularly his beloved mother (Julie Hagerty, replacing original star Melinda Dillon, who retired over a decade ago).

“A Christmas Story Christmas”

Yana Blajeva/Courtesy of HBO Max

Soon enough, Ralph, wife Sandy (Erinn Hayes, who has great chemistry with everyone, especially Hagerty), and cute kids Mark (River Drosche) and Julie (Julianna Layne) are hightailing it out of their avocado-green Chicago apartment to head home to Hohman, Indiana, to have the kind of Christmas the Parkers have made their bread and butter. That means folksy anecdotes about Midwest living, kids obsessing over essential presents, and salivating over the sparkling windows of local department store Higbee’s. Lies about Santa are told, casseroles are consumed, and a genial tone reigns supreme, even if it is often deflated by increasingly convoluted storylines and a fairly understandable interest in stuffing the film with winks and nods to the original.

And, yes, nods to the first film run the gamut, from the eye-rollingly obvious (Ralph tries to sweeten up a potential publisher with a holiday gift, just as he did with his teacher so many years ago) to the genuinely fun (the Parkers’ neighbors, the Bumpus clan, continue to offer a home for a large pack of carousing dogs, with a snuggly addition). Billingsley is joined by a cadre of other returning stars, like his old pals Flick (Scott Schwartz) and Schwartz (R.D. Robb), his little brother Randy (Ian Petrella), and forever nemesis Scut Farkus (Zack Ward), which adds some sparkle to the entire outing.

Inevitably, many lessons are learned (are Ralph and Sandy coddling their kids? do bullies ever change? is a “triple dog dare” really the worst thing you can be challenged with?), and mistakes are met with both laughs and understanding. The Old Man is retconned into being the biggest, best champion of Christmas in the entire world, a bastion of holiday cheer and happiness, a glossy take on a lovingly curmudgeonly character, and one that totally misses the point of his appeal.

No one tries to assemble a leg lamp. One person does nearly get their eye shot out. A kid pukes on Santa. Play the hits!

“A Christmas Story Christmas”

Yana Blajeva/Courtesy of HBO Max

But there’s something oddly manufactured about this whole thing. If “A Christmas Story” was an unexpected hit that took off because of its offbeat charm and amusing familiarity, Kaytis’ film feels crafted totally in its image, afraid to be its own thing at nearly every turn. Fans of the first film will likely be beset by the sense that something is just slightly off about everything in “A Christmas Story Christmas,” like the persistent voiceover from Billingsley (who takes over from the dulcet tones of Shepherd himself, who memorably narrated the first film) to the meticulously recreated Parker family home (built from the ground up in Europe, whereas the original was shot in Cleveland).

It’s not a sequel; it’s a replica. And while that might bring some comfort and joy during the holiday season, wouldn’t you rather savor the real thing?

Grade: C+

“A Christmas Story Christmas” starts streaming on HBO Max on Thursday, November 17.

Read also

Watch: Fans in London React to England-USA World Cup Draw

Viral Social Postings Reflect Frustration With Chinese COVID Policies  

Defeated Arizona hopeful Kari Lake sues Maricopa County election officials

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

It's not just you. Disney's CEO reportedly thinks its theme parks have gotten too expensive. — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

Regular homebuyers in Las Vegas and Phoenix stand a chance now that investors are fleeing pandemic boomtowns

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Тодд Вудбридж

Тодд Вудбридж считает Новака Джоковича настоящей первой ракеткой мира

Спорт в России и мире

Первый форум экстрим культуры в России


All sports news today


Sports in Russia today


В отелях сети Constance пройдет международный турнир по гольфу

Новости России

Game News

Today's Wordle answer and hint for Thursday, November 24


Почему турецкий минисултан Алиев отказался от переговоров с Макроном по Армянскому вопросу

Губернаторы России

Пассажиропоток аэропорта Домодедово в ...

Ростовчане могут проголосовать за участника от Юга в конкурсе историй билайн с призом в миллион рублей

Псковская школьница стала призером премии Росприроднадзора

Летом 2022 в Москве в павильоне ВДНХ - АРТ Техноград прошел форум профессий будущего

Москвичам рассказали о начале онлайн-экскурсии по павильону «Макет Москвы»

Возможности для Авторов, Писателей и Поэтов в процессе ПОДГОТОВКИ к написанию КНИГИ.

Певица МакSим отменила концерт в Вологде из-за ухудшения состояния здоровья

Губернатор поблагодарил Дениса Мацуева за работу с воронежскими детьми

Сыктывкарцы пели песни Queen под симфонический оркестр

Пловец Николай Зуев вошел в состав "Синтеза"

«Волшебник Изумрудного города» и еще 5 лучших дестких книг Александра Волкова

"Кубок Дэвиса". Марин Чилич более чем за три часа одолел Пабло Карреньо-Бусту, сборная Хорватии вышла в полуфинал

На аукционе Christie's продадут кроссовки Серены Уильямс за $20 тысяч


Forbes: Приобретение Арменией иранских беспилотников может стать потенциальным сдерживающим фактором и достойным ответом оси Баку - Тель-Авив

Почему турецкий минисултан Алиев отказался от переговоров с Макроном по Армянскому вопросу

Карен Суджян: «С детьми нужно разговаривать»

«Спартак» рискует опуститься в нижнюю сетку, Карпин уже стоит на вылет! В Кубке России жарко, как в Катаре

Новый катарский премьер, юбилей Общества российско-китайской дружбы, мультфильм в честь Чемпионата мира, российское мороженое вне конкуренции

За год работы корпоративный медцентр «Норникеля» в Норильске оказал 70 тысяч услуг

Карен Суджян: «С детьми нужно разговаривать»

Три женские гимназии

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости

Александр Розенбаум

Тяжелобольной певец Александр Розенбаум не пропустил день рождения Юлии Ковальчук

News Every Day

Uber Bans Racist Karen After Viral Video Shows White Woman’s ‘Sickening’ Anti-Black Racism Toward Driver

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости