A Christmas Story Christmas delivers on the nostalgia, but can it recreate the magic of the original A Christmas Story?
A Christmas Story is a holiday classic. One that families have cuddled up on the couch in front of since 1983. Sure, there was a sequel already, A Christmas Story 2, but everyone has forgotten that by now (as they should) and it is time to usher in another follow up, A Christmas Story Christmas. Coming to HBO Max just in time for the holiday season, on November 17, this movie certainly delivers on the nostalgia, but can it recreate the magic of the original?
Taking place in 1973, Ralphie is all grown up with a family of his own. He has a different Christmas wish this year, he wants to be a published writer. When a family tragedy brings him home for the holidays, to the town of Hohman, Indiana, he is tasked with stepping into his father’s shoes and putting his family in the Christmas mood.
What Works With A Christmas Story Christmas
The best part about A Christmas Story Christmas is hands down the fact that it feels so much like the original. From Ralphie narrating the story to the way these sets look exactly the same. Many classic moments from A Christmas Story are recreated, sometimes in a slightly updated way, through the film. It feels like home and comfort — especially with so many of the actors reprising their roles. This makes it believable and like us fans are getting a glimpse at what Ralphie’s future was.
Of course there are many Easter eggs packed in as well. The bunny costume makes a brief and hilarious appearance, and we see that leg lampshade more than once. Each of these things will bring a smile to the face of those who grew up on this iconic film as we take a walk down memory lane. For the younger members of the family, who perhaps have only watched it recently, they are still very recognizable and fun additions to the movie.
Sticking a ton of fan service and callbacks into a film like this is almost required, but it can often be done in a way that feels forced. Not with A Christmas Story Christmas. Because this movie centers around Christmas and the traditions that come with it, they can all be weaved into the plot seamlessly. The story itself has it some issues, but it is a heartwarming tale that will have long time fans smiling, reminiscing about their own past, and holding onto their loved ones a little bit tighter.
What Doesn’t Work With A Christmas Story Christmas
The biggest problem with the story is that it is extremely predictable. Right from the start it is very clear where this is going and because of that, it feels like it takes a long time to get there. Don’t get us wrong though, the journey is fun because of the familiar humor and callbacks to the original. A Christmas Story Christmas is only a little over an hour and a half, but it does start to drag in the middle. At times it feels like they are keeping the story going just so they can squeeze in a few more Easter eggs and similar occurrences from the first one.
Something that really stands out about this movie is that it makes the adults look like alcoholics — especially Ralphie’s mom. Yes, it is the holidays, but the amount of drinks the grownups in A Christmas Story Christmas consume is, well, a lot. Ralphie’s mother falls asleep on the couch after drinking and one time she can’t even get out of the car without falling over because of it.
Do You Have To Watch A Christmas Story?
If you have not yet seen the iconic classic holiday film A Christmas Story should you watch it before diving into this one? Absolutely. It will not be nearly as enjoyable, or even make as much sense, without first seeing the original. The ending especially will be lost on those who have not watched it.
A Christmas Story Christmas isn’t a perfect movie and it will never be better than the iconic orignal. But it is enjoyable enough for those who are massive fans of the first because it captures the same feeling. It won’t ruin it, or backtrack on things we know about the family, which is why it works so well. It feels like coming together with those you love around the holiday season.
Will they revisit it? Likely not in the capacity they do the first one, but they still might. Bringing in the actors to reprise their roles is what makes A Christmas Movie Christmas so special. It teaches lessons of enjoying those around you while they are here, as well as the fact that when your loved ones are gone, they are still here. Most importantly though, it is the thought that counts.
Rating: 3 out of 5
About A Christmas Story Christmas
Ralphie is all grown up in this sequel to the annual holiday favorite in which he must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it, this time as a dad. Peter Billingsley returns to the role that has made kids of all ages anticipate Christmas morning like no other.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.