When it comes to good reasons to make a sequel to a beloved classic movie, “nostalgia” should never top the list. Yet here we are with the forgettable “A Christmas Story Christmas,” an unnecessary, unwanted, and unneeded follow-up to 1983’s “A Christmas Story.”
Director Clay Kaytis leans heavily on fond memories of the first film, from relying on actual flashbacks to bringing back the same actors who are now all grown up. This sequel is so unimaginative that it feels like nothing more than a series of rehashed situations, repeated jokes, and recreated scenes from the earlier film. It is a carbon copy that’s so devoid of magic, it’ll have you longing for the good-natured holiday spirit of the original.
Set in 1973, Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) is now an adult with a family of his own. Long gone are the days when he pleaded for the most coveted gift around: a Red Ryder BB gun. After his father suddenly passes away, Ralphie loads up the wife (Erinn Hayes) and kids (Julianna Layne, River Drosche) and heads back to his childhood home to spend the holidays with his mother (Julie Hagerty). Determined to make this the best Christmas ever, Ralphie struggles to reconnect with the joy and childlike wonder that his Old Man brought to life every December.
It’s a harmless story with a loose plot that relies on feel-good memories as a substitute for creativity. The film finds mild success from its inviting and homey feel. The cast seems to be having a delightful time, and the performances are comfortable and cozy (with the exception of Drosche and Layne, who are two of the worst child actors I have ever seen). It’s admittedly fun to see the classic characters as adults, with reprised roles for Zack Ward as Scut Farkus, Scott Schwartz as Flick, and R.D. Robb as Schwartz.
Maybe it’s a little unfair to compare “A Christmas Story Christmas” to “A Christmas Story” so much, but the two are so similar that if you have any sort of expectations before viewing, you’re going to be let down. It’s a sequel that’s not going to become a classic, must-watch tradition in many households, but it’s perfectly serviceable for family night at home.
By: Louisa Moore