In recent weeks we've been deluged with a whole lot of harrumphing about how the new Grinch movie violates the true spirit of the blessed Dr. Seuss's original story, and about how the marketing campaign is a horrific manifestation of exactly the kind of commercialization that the tale is intended to combat. But there's a deep dark secret that we all share : no one truly cares about the good Doctor's message : we love the Grinch who steals Christmas, not the one who returns it. All those Whos down in Whoville are too annoying for us to care much whether they enjoy their holiday and the pre-conversion Grinch is so delightfully evil that we root for him, rather than against. The Grinch succeeds, not because of its intended message, but because in the midst of all the saccharine of the Christmas season, we all welcome the sight of a total curmudgeon. Think about it, our favorite characters in three great yuletide tales are Scrooge, the Abominable and the Grinch. In every story, it's the anti-Christmas figure we're attracted to : to heck with Tiny Tim, the misfit toys and Cindy-Lou Who.
Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, the whole deal--the baby Jesus, the presents, the food, family, friends, classic movies and tv shows, music, decorating the tree, etc., etc., etc... But there's also that buzzardly part of me, and I bet of many of you, that needs an antidote, however temporary, to all of the artificial sentiment of the season. I admit that I still mist up every time they sing Auld Lang Syne at the end of It's a Wonderful Life, but beats there a heart so sappy that it actually thrills to the strains of "Fahoo Doray ?" No, the Grinch lives on because, until his heart grows those three sizes, he provides a brief respite from the hoopty-do of a holiday that takes not just commercialization but vacuous sentiment to an unbearable extreme..
GRADE : A-