Movies

Jim Carrey, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

(Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Digital Domain)

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Genre: Holiday, Sci-fi and Fantasy, Comedy; Starring: Jim Carrey, Christine Baranski, Anthony Hopkins, Bryce Dallas Howard, Josh Ryan Evans, Taylor Momsen, Molly Shannon, Mindy Sterling, Jeffrey Tambor; Director: Ron Howard; Producer (person): Brian Grazer; Producer (group): Imagine Entertainment; Release Date Wide: 11/17/2000; Runtime (in minutes): 102; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: Universal

Look, I’ll make it simple: The reason Dr. Seuss’ original ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is a slender classic of antimaterialism comes down to one line: ”’Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.”’ The season, Ted Geisel was saying, is not about stuff. Ron Howard’s Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is all about stuff. From the bric-a-brac Styrofoam sets to the ugly Twilight Zone faces of the Whos to Jim Carrey’s hairy man-breasts, the movie substitutes audiovisual megakill for emotion. And that’s just on screen; act now, and you can buy the ”Grinch” video-and-plush-doll pack, or the Collector’s Edition DVD with fold-out sets and Faith Hill video, or the Grinch Shower Radio!

A cheap shot given that every family movie comes with tie-ins? It’s unfair to review the promotion as well as the film? Perhaps, but I’ll say it again: This particular story is about the irrelevance of possessions. The way the marketing’s stripmining of the kiddie demographic extends to the clanging vulgarity of everything on screen provides a working definition of the debasement of American movies. But listen, go ahead and let the kids watch it eight times a week. Just turn up the volume so you can’t hear Ted spinning.

Originally posted November 20 2001 — 12:00 AM EST

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