Picks and Pans Review: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
One doesn't want to limit Jim Carrey's career options, but he can't go wrong being green. Hewing to the hue has proved comic gold for him in 1994's The Mask and as the Riddler in 1995's Batman Forever. Now the actor covers himself with even greater comic glory by covering himself in lime-colored fur as the Grinch in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
His embittered meanie is the central figure in this frothily entertaining family film by director Ron Howard, which is based on pseudonymous author Theodor S. Geisel's 1957 children's classic. The Grinch is really Scrooge with a pelt, and just like Scrooge, if he can only be made to understand the true meaning of Noel (that it's not about the gifts but about togetherness), he'll reform. That teacherly task falls to Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), a wee resident of Yule-obsessed Whoville who recognizes that deep beneath the Grinch's hairy hide lies a big softy who was hurt as a youngster and is still acting out. As she tells him, after he has huffed and puffed and threatened her with bodily harm, "Maybe you need a time-out."
There are laughs aplenty for kids (the Grinch throws spectacular tantrums) but also clever jokes adults will appreciate, including sly film parodies and the Grinch reading off such to-do list entries as "4 p.m., wallow in self-pity; 4:30 p.m., gaze into the abyss." Carrey brings antic zest to his part but also locates the Grinch's bruised heart. Anyone who has ever self-righteously stomped up the stairs to a bedroom and slammed the door twice for emphasis will find it easy to empathize. (PG)
Bottom Line: Yule have a blast