Movie Review: A Christmas Story Christmas

On paper, it should be a lot of fun. Get the gang back from the original classic, A Christmas Story, and have them reprise their roles, with the move taking place thirty or forty years later. And when you see just how much Peter Billingsley still looks like himself (as Ralphie), it’s hard not to think right away that this could really work. And thus, A Christmas Story Christmas was born.

I’ll admit to being skeptical heading into the film. Sure, it seemed like there was a chance it could work, but there was also a big chance it would be nothing but a stinker. But it had a 7 on IMDB (at the time) and a 78% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Surely that meant the movie was actually good.

Having watched it now, I can solve the debate. It’s not good. It’s not terrible, and there are a few genuinely funny scenes, but overall it’s a movie that tries too hard to be too many things. First and foremost, they’re very fond of beating us over the head with THIS IS JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS STORY scenes. Worried we might miss the references, they even stick in audio snippets from the original. And they went through several contortions to cram in as many references as they could.

Maybe if they’d stuck to that, it would have still been okay. But they also decided to ram FEEL GOOD HOLIDAY HEART-WARMER down our throats. That’s a move I don’t really understand. The original has some feel good moments in it, but it’s good because it’s so true to life so often, finding humor in the everyday. This one just feels like it has to have A Theme, and the movie isn’t strong enough to support it.

(Side gripe: there’s a big plot thread around Ralphie trying to get published, and it went wrong for me on many different levels. He keeps talking about wanting a call from “his manager,” because . . . aspiring authors have managers? He takes his writing around to “every publisher in Chicago,” which . . . maybe he’d have been better off going to New York City, where publishers are generally in more abundance? There are other issues I have with the plot arc, but they’d give spoilers away, and some of you might watch the movie.)

That said, I enjoyed watching Billingsley again, so the movie wasn’t a complete wash. If I’d had lower expectations, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. As it is, I walked away disappointed. 5/10, and I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again. (If you’re looking for a movie in the same vein as the original, I’d recommend 8 Bit Christmas. Not as good as Christmas Story, but a fun 80s take on the same theme. I gave that one a 7.5)

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