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Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) starring Jim Carrey,

What happens when you take a 30 minute children’s Christmas classic and expand it to over two hours? You get Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Review

In short, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas suffers from bloat. Suffers badly. In order to make this film, Ron Howard decided to make the villains of the movie the people of Whoville. They’re greedy, selfish, all about consumption and winning at any cost. In the process, they reveal a back story for the Grinch. Where he’s the helpless victim of the uncaring people of Whoville, of course. Except for Cindy Lou Who, who sees a glimmer of kindness underneath his cold, green, smelly exterior.

In short — watch the original 30-minute cartoon for a more enjoyable time. This version is bloated, and cliched.

Funny moments

  • The Grinch ‘sorting’ the mail – genuinely funny, though very short.
  • The Grinch winning the “honor” of judging the various Who contests.
  • Most of Jim Carrey’s time on screen. Though some of it goes on too long, and he uses too many characterizations. It’s almost as though he’s trying to be Robin Williams’ Genie in Aladdin.

Cast of characters

  • Anthony Hopkins (Thor Ragnarok) as the narrator. A fine job.
  • Jim Carrey as the Grinch, a misanthropic and devious green-furred creature who despises Christmas and the Whos of Whoville. It is revealed in his origin story that he started to hate Christmas after his school classmates mocked him for trying to shave his beard when he was only eight years old. He’s taunted by Augustus MayWho. He does this primarily due to his crush on Martha May Whovier.
  • Christine Baranski as Martha May Whovier, the Grinch’s lifelong crush. She’s a leading citizen of Whoville and the romantic interest of Mayor Augustus MayWho. In the end, she ultimately rejects the Mayor and chooses the Grinch. As a young girl, shows compassion towards the young Grinch.
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Mayor Augustus MayWho, Whoville’s rude, arrogant, judgmental mayor. He’s revealed to be a school bully who picked on the young Grinch. He also denounces the Grinch every chance he gets and wants Christmas in Whoville to be Grinch-less.
  • Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who, a young Who girl who believes that the Christmas spirit in Whoville is lost.
  • Bill Irwin as Lou Lou Who, the cheerful and slightly dimwitted postmaster of Whoville. He’s also Cindy’s father and Betty Lou’s husband.
  • Molly Shannon as Betty Lou Who, Cindy’s mother and Martha’s rival in a house-lighting contest. Without the Mayor’s cheating on Martha’s behalf, she would have won.
  • Clint Howard as Whobris, the mayor’s sycophantic aide and servant. He goes along with everything the Mayor says and does. A genuinely funny performance.

Product Description

Discover the magic of the Mean One this holiday season! Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer bring Christmas’ best-loved grump to life with the help of the irrepressible Jim Carrey as The Grinch. The Grinch is a celebration of the holiday spirit no home should be without! Why is The Grinch (Carrey) such a grouch? No one seems to know, until little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) takes matters into her own hands and turns both Whoville and The Grinch’s world upside down, inside out… and funny side up in her search for the true meaning of Christmas.

Amazon.com

Under a thick carpet of green-dyed yak fur and wonderfully expressive Rick Baker makeup, Jim Carrey is up to all of his old tricks (and some nifty new ones) in this live-action movie of Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic. He commands the title role with equal parts madness, mayhem, pathos, and improvisational genius, channeling Grinchness through his own screen persona so smoothly that fans of both Carrey and Dr. Seuss will be thoroughly satisfied. Adding to the fun is a perfectly pitched back-story sequence (accompanied by Anthony Hopkins’s narration) that explains how the Grinch came to hate Christmas, with a heart “two sizes too small.”

Ron Howard proves a fine choice for the director’s chair with a keen balance of comedy, sentiment, and light-hearted Seussian whimsy. Production designer Michael Corenblith gloriously realizes the wackiness of Whoville architecture, and his rendition of the Grinch’s Mt. Crumpit lair is a marvel of cartoonish, subterranean grime. Then there’s Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), the thoughtful imp who rallies her village to recapture the pure spirit of Christmas and melts the gift-stealing Grinch’s cold, cold heart. You’ve even got a dog (the Grinch’s good-natured mongrel, Max) who’s been perfectly cast, so what’s not to like about this dazzling yuletide movie?

The production gets a bit overwhelmed by its own ambition, and the citizens of Whoville (including Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon, and Bill Irwin) pale in comparison to Carrey’s inspired lunacy, but who cares? If a movie can unleash Jim Carrey at his finest, revamp the Grinch story, and still pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Seuss, you can bet it qualifies as rousing entertainment. (Ages 5 and older.) –Jeff Shannon

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