How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Starring: Clint Howard, Jeffrey Tambor, Josh Ryan Evans
Directed by: Ron Howard (Night Shift; Splash; Edtv)
Whonopsis: The Grinch hates Christmas, The Whos love Christmas, The Who Sell Out.
Jim Carrey-ist part: A full movie of this is pretty hard to take…
Who-rst part: This scene made sense in the original story because Cindy Lou Who had never met The Grinch before and didn’t know what he or Santa looked like, but in this movie she’s been interacting with him constantly, how does she not know this is him?
Who-dity: The Grinch is naked almost the entire movie.
Whoverall: The original How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon is a perfectly nice little holiday special that tells exactly as much story as it needs to. The Grinch is a mysterious, mythical being who frightens the citizens of Whoville because they don’t know what he is, just that he’s a scary customer, and his motivation for stealing Christmas from the Whos is simply because he’s sick of listening to them. In this movie, The Grinch mistakenly arrives in Whoville as a baby, and is raised in Whoville and even goes to school, so he’s no longer a mystery to the Whos, just a weird jerk who used to live in their town but ran away. To make things weirder, one of the Who ladies is in love with him, for completely unknown reasons, because he’s an ugly a-hole. I guess he was a “bad boy,” which I suppose is ok because I got my wife with that persona. Anywho, that’s the main issue with this movie. Everything just seems so unnecessary, and half of it could be cut out without missing anything story-wise. It’s basically 104 minutes of Jim Carrey exploding and showering ham all over Whoville. If you don’t like his shtick, then this movie will feel like your own personal Who-hell. It’s silly fun at first, but after a while you just want him to shut up already. But in his own special way, I suppose it is a good performance, especially under all the makeup. Speaking of which, something that’s always stuck with me is Roger Ebert’s review of this movie, in which he says, “The Grinch is played by Jim Carrey, who works as hard as an actor has ever worked in a movie, to small avail. He leaps, he tumbles, he contorts, he sneers, he grimaces, he taunts, he flies through the air and tunnels through the garbage mountain, he gets stuck in chimneys and blown up in explosions, and all the time. . . . Well, he’s not Jim Carrey. After John Travolta and Robin Williams were paid many millions to appear inside unrecognizable makeup in ‘Battlefield Earth’ and ‘Bicentennial Man,’ respectively, did it occur to anyone that when audiences go to a movie with a big star, they buy their tickets in the hopes of being able to see that star?” Uhh, what? Most people buy a ticket to see a movie, and to see the star become a character in that movie and deliver a good performance as that character, not to just see the star. That’s idiotic. Was Jim Carrey just supposed to wear green paint on his face and be The Grinch? That stance in his review never made sense to me, and now he’s stopped answering my repeated inquiries about it.
So bottom line, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is meh. Ok, not completely unwatchable or anything, but can be pretty annoying, and uses the rest of the characters in the movie as just background extras for Jim Carrey. Plus something about Whoville just seems off. The town is all about Christmas, but it just doesn’t seem as vibrant and colorful and stylistic as it should. It actually feels claustrophobic, and the lighting is really crappy. Like the many Christmases I spent in my family’s crawlspace.
Score: 5.5 Who cares (out of 10)