Blast From The Past Movie Review: HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000)
In which the Grinch becomes a full-on antihero waging war against the commercialization of Christmas...
As those of you who’ve read my MailChimp newsletter and my old Blogger blog know, I’m a regular participant in the film podcast Myopia Movies. As a holiday celebration (and to tie in with the new parody film The Mean One), we did an episode on the 2000 Jim Carrey How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Here’s the episode. And now the review…
It’s the lead-up to Christmas (and the Christmas Eve “Whobilation” pre-game) and some delinquent Who teens rouse the wrath of the Grinch (Jim Carrey), a reclusive green creature who lives on Mount Crumpit just outside of Whoville. The Grinch descends upon Whoville to play some retaliatory pranks, only to against his better judgement rescue Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) when she’s caught in a packaging machine. Cindy Lou, who is growing disillusioned with the Whos’ increasingly materialistic and commercialist attitude toward Christmas, goes full true-crime podcaster and investigates the Grinch’s origins. After interviewing Mayor Augustus Maywho (Jeffrey Tambor), who bullied the Grinch as a child, and the sexpot Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski), Cindy Lou decides to invite the Grinch to the Whobilation.
Only trouble ensues, leading to the titular plot by the Grinch to steal the Whos’ Christmas…
*The movie is freaking hilarious. I simply could not stop laughing throughout much of it. It’s simply a great film to watch.
*Much of the credit for the above belongs to Carrey himself, who absolutely hams it up as the Grinch. Swaggering around talking like Sean Connery with a speech impediment, he absolutely dominates the film. And since the movie turns the Grinch into a full-on antihero, we see a lot of him. Also, a whole lot of the film apparently consists of Carrey’s improvisations, so more credit there as well. He also apparently underwent military torture-resistance training to tolerate the prolonged applications of makeup and fur to portray the Grinch, so good for him.
*The rest of the acting holds up well too. Momsen does a good job as Cindy Lou, who has the biggest heart and the most courage (or the least common sense) in the whole town. Baranski amuses as Martha May, while Tambor infuriates as the cruel and arrogant Augustus. Bill Irwin does a good job as Cindy Lou’s beleaguered postmaster father Lou Lou. And the dog that played the Grinch’s pet Max is extraordinarily well-trained, even to the point I could swear he rolled his eyes at his master’s antics.
*The original book is a short tale for children, so to make it feature-length they had to beef the plot up considerably. They actually did a good job expanding it without too-obvious padding.
*The movie runs a bit too long. We don’t get to the Grinch’s attempt to actually steal Christmas until over an hour into the film. Much of the movie is devoted to Cindy Lou’s investigation of the Grinch and the Whobilation, which goes full-on Midsommar. And during the attempt to steal Christmas, there’s a prolonged sequence of the Grinch’s laughing face superimposed on his various hijinks that took up time and served no purpose.
*This is more a matter of personal taste than objective criticism, but the film is really not for little-little kids. The Grinch is rather scary looking, there’s cursing, and the movie is full of adult-oriented humor. I think the movie is probably better for older kids and adults, with the old-school version and the newer Illuminate animated version being better for little-little kids. On the podcast I actually compare this movie to Shrek, although Shrek does a better job disguising the raunchy content to make the movie appropriate for all ages.
I enjoyed it so much I went out of my way to purchase it on Blu-Ray, but to be fair it’s not for all tastes. 9/10.