Directed by Ron Howard
Running Time: 1:43
Rated PG for some crude humor.

Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas was yet another film I was really looking forward to, only to feel let down with the results. I'm a big Ron Howard fan, and an even bigger Jim Carrey fan, and I usually like these kind of fantasy pictures, but the movie didn't pack the punch I expected.

In a snowflake flying high in the air, there is a small town called Whoville. The inhabitants of this small town are happy go lucky, strange looking people, who love Christmas more than any other people on Earth. But, on Mt. Crumpit there lives a strange creature who hates Christmas more than anything on Earth. He is, The Grinch (Jim Carrey), a thing, a creature rumored to have a heart smaller than any other thing on the planet. The one thing this movie version gets into more than the book or original animated film, is the background of the Grinch, and why he hates Christmas so much. It seems when he was a small child, he looked different, and was picked on because of that. One day, when he tried to give a Christmas present to a girl he really liked, it backfired, and all the children just laughed at him. Angered, he left his Whoville home, and ran into the mountains. Now, with the one thousandth Whobilation celebration going on, a little girl named Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) has started to question the true meaning of Christmas. She doesn't believe that Christmas is just about presents and parades. She thinks Christmas is about love and understanding. So she tries to get the Grinch to join in the festivities. At first things don't go well, and the Grinch still tries to steal Christmas from the townspeople, but in the end he realizes that he does have a heart, and all is happy in the world.

I guess what bothered me from the beginning, is that the movie wasn't all that funny. Sure it had some moments, but on the whole, Jim Carrey wasn't as funny as I'm used to seeing him. First off, unless you knew it was him, there is no way you could tell he was under all that Grinch makeup. Once you heard him talk, you could figure it out, but otherwise, it could have been almost anyone under that costume. A lot of Carrey's humor and talent, in my opinion, comes from his physical comedy. His strange faces, falling all over himself, just going nutty, that sort of stuff. But hampered by the costume, he was left to try and create most of his humor through words, and to me, it just didn't work out. I think if the movie had a lot more physical humor, I would have enjoyed it more, and the kids who were in the audience with me would have enjoyed it more. I think I heard them all laugh maybe three times during the movie, and it was never with what the Grinch said, but with what he did.

I thought that Taylor Momsen was extremely cute, and she was one of the major reasons this movie was enjoyable. Even the Grinch couldn't get annoyed with her cuteness too much. So a good casting call on the part of the producer. I also enjoyed the music, especially Carrey's version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", and Faith Hill's song over the closing credits. I loved the sets and the people of Whoville. Ron Howard and production designed Michael Corenblith did a great job creating the small town of Whoville, as well as the Grinch's cave on Mt. Crumpit. And don't get me wrong, I still love Jim Carrey, and some of his lines, while not playing to the kids in the audience, I thought were very funny. His dog Max was very cute as well, and often stole the scene he was in. The rest of the cast was fine, but this was a movie about the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, so it comes down to those two to carry the movie.

So overall, Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas was just above average. It wasn't as funny as I had hoped it would be. It rests almost completely on the back of Jim Carrey and his vocal humor, and not enough on his slapstick talents. The little girl was very cute, as was the dog. The scenery was very nice, and I enjoyed the musical interlude. But in the end, I was hoping for more from Ron Howard and Jim Carrey. Maybe I'll go see it again and see if my opinion changes.

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reviewed 11/19/00

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