Ty Burr
November 23, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
102 minutes
Wide Release Date
11/17/00
performer
Jim Carrey, Christine Baranski, Anthony Hopkins, Bryce Dallas Howard, Josh Ryan Evans, Taylor Momsen, Molly Shannon, Mindy Sterling, Jeffrey Tambor
director
Ron Howard
Producer
Brian Grazer
Producers
Imagine Entertainment
distributor
Universal
genre
Holiday, Sci-fi and Fantasy, Comedy

We gave it a F

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. F

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