A Christmas Story Christmas

Rating: 3 out of 5.

1983’s A Christmas Story ranks in my Top 5 all-time greatest holiday movies. I’m not alone in my love for that adaptation based on the anecdotal writings of humorist Jean Shepherd. In the U.S., the TV networks TBS and TNT air the film for 24 hours in a nonstop marathon on the actual day. So it was with a mixture of excitement and reserve that I approached this sequel to the beloved classic: the awkwardly titled A Christmas Story Christmas.

From a screenplay he co-wrote with Nick Schenk (Gran Torino), director Clay Kaytis (The Christmas Chronicles) has fashioned this warm update for people who have seen the original many times. The year is 1973 — 33 years after the previous installment took place. Peter Billingsley, who played little Ralphie in the first picture, is now an adult father. He travels back to the home in Hammond, Indiana from whence he grew up. He’s there to console his mother after receiving news that his father has passed. He’s promised his mother two things. (1) to write his father’s obituary and (1) to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child.

There’s more nostalgia to be mined. Ralphie also reconnects with his childhood friends. A cadre of original cast members return. This includes his kid brother Randy (Ian Petrella), his best friend Schwartz (R.D. Robb), who dared buddy Flick (Scott Schwartz) to stick his tongue to a frozen pole, and the ultimate bully Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) with his right-hand man Grover Dill (Yano Anaya). Melinda Dillion retired from acting in 2007, so the always dependable Julie Hagerty ably steps into the role of his mother, Mrs. Parker.

Ralphie is all grown up, so the narrative’s perspective has appropriately changed. The account concerns navigating festive traditions as a married father with kids. Rituals include picking out a tree, finding the appropriate topper, and buying gifts while his wife (Erinn Hayes) and mom get tipsy in the lounge. Outdoor fun consists of snowball fights with the kids, sledding down a ridiculously high ramp, building snowmen, etc. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. The script finds humor in some new gags, but it also relies on developments from the 1983 picture and puts a twist on them. I enjoyed the remix. My biggest complaint is that it’s all very inconsequential. Nonetheless, this is still a sweet revisit if you’re a fan of the previous movie. Not as good, but then again, it hasn’t had the advantage of almost 40 years of repeat viewings.


One Response to “A Christmas Story Christmas”

  1. This was harmless. I agree, after seeing the original multiple times. This relies heavily on that. Still, I enjoyed the nostalgia. Worth watching. 3 ⭐️


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