The Punch - - SWAG! -

This movie elab­o­rates on Dr. Seuss’ clas­sic book about the Christ­mas-hat­ing Grinch, nar­rated by Phar­rell Wil­liams (voiced by Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch) who lives above the merry town of Whoville. Down below, the mayor of Whoville (An­gela Lans­bury) has deemed that Christ­mas is go­ing to be three times big­ger than the pre­vi­ous years. So, the Grinch de­cides he’s go­ing to ruin ev­ery­one’s hol­i­day by pre­tend­ing to be Santa and steal­ing the en­tire town’s presents and dec­o­ra­tions. But adorable lit­tle Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), whose mother, Donna Lou (Rashida Jones), is a hard­work­ing sin­gle mum, has a plan of her own: trap Santa and ask him for a very spe­cial gift.

This adap­ta­tion is bright, colour­ful, and oc­ca­sion­ally funny, but it doesn’t come close to match­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the short-and-sweet orig­i­nal. While Cum­ber­batch’s voice isn’t as res­o­nantly deep as Boris Karloff’s, his Grinch is be­liev­ably grumpy, an­gry, and re­sent­ful of Whoville’s need for a gi­nor­mous Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion. The Grinch’s lov­able loyal dog, Max, makes the green meanie a bit more sym­pa­thetic, as does the sad back­story that ex­plains his mo­ti­va­tions for hat­ing the hol­i­day.

But this isn’t only the Grinch’s story. It’s also Cindy Lou’s, as she at­tempts to con­vince Santa to grant her self­less wish. To ac­com­plish her goal, there’s a sub­plot in­volv­ing a group of her friends, a kid-led caper that should ap­peal to younger au­di­ences. Jones is well cast as a lov­ing mum, and Ke­nan Thomp­son adds comic re­lief as a Whoville res­i­dent who mis­guid­edly be­lieves that the Grinch is his pal. For its en­dur­ing mes­sages about kind­ness and love, it’s hard to find fault in The Grinch.

Score: 6/10

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