The bittersweet coming-of-age comedy “A Christmas Story,” directed by Bob Clark and based on the semi-autobiographical writings of comic Jean Shepherd, is that rarest of things: a fine holiday film.
The latest legacy sequel, “A Christmas Story Christmas,” is atypical in being a very terrible holiday film. This is a crucial distinction.
Since its humble premiere in 1983, “A Christmas Story” has garnered immense renown, becoming firmly established in the festive canon and beloved for its genuine warmth and subtle, naughty humor.
With the undifferentiated tide of the streaming ecosystem washing away sentimental cash-ins like “A Christmas Story Christmas,” it appears that the holiday will soon be a thing of the past.
There have been other sequels to “Christmas Story,” including “My Summer Story” (1994) and “A Christmas Story 2” (2012), widely considered to be the worst sequel of all time.
As compared to the original, this one is more faithful: The original film’s cast is back for this sequel, including Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie when he was only nine but is now almost 40.
While filmmaker Clay Kaytis makes an earnest effort to pay homage to a classic, A Christmas Story, he falls short of capturing the film’s timeless beauty as the story of an elderly Ralphie’s attempts to re-create his childhood Christmas for his own family.
(Most of the jokes just fall flat when compared to the rest. That kid has his tongue firmly attached to a pole, right? Funny. Fight with the kids in the snow? Dull.)
The remake mainly made me want to go back and watch the original, which is always a good time.
What Films Will It Bring to Mind? :
Why, the first A Christmas Story from 1983, of course… though perhaps not in the overt manner you might assume.
The pink bunny costume does make a brief comeback, but it’s more like being dug out of storage than anything else.
The story more closely mirrors another legendary holiday favorite, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, as Ralphie’s struggle to prove himself a worthy supplying patriarch for Christmas echoes the travails of Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold.
Worth Watching Performance:
Peter Billingsley deserves praise for bringing something new to the role of Ralphie.
Instead of simply rehashing what audiences have enjoyed about the character for decades, his performance provides an interesting perspective on where the character would be at this point in his life.
There are enough echoes of the shy kid we remember without making him seem like a man-child.