This new ‘Grinch’ film will only make you flinch

Medicine Hat News - - ENTERTAINMENT - MARK KENNEDY

Ev­ery Who down in Whoville gets a new Grinch this sea­son. Why, you may ask? The idea de­fies rea­son. Does the clas­sic need help from a hot Cum­ber­batch? Or is this strange union a bizarre mis­match?

The Grinch is the story you learned as an in­fant, star­ring a Christ­mas-hat­ing heel and his dog­gie as­sis­tant. The fuzzy green vil­lain hopes to make hol­i­day gloom. Just like a wicked witch, but with­out the broom. He tar­gets pre­sents in­tended for tots. Oh, how hor­rific is this nasty crack­pot.

Seuss never ex­plained what prompted this act. Per­haps the Grinch wore shoes that were too com­pact? (Or maybe, just maybe, his head had been whacked?) Should he con­sult a car­di­ol­o­gist chart? The an­swer is clear: It’s be­cause of his heart.

In “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch,” lib­er­ties are taken. Some are just pad­ding, some quite mis­taken. It’s sug­gested that our old friend the Grinch is an or­phan, as though that ex­cuses in­flict­ing mis­for­tune. There’s a new side­kick, a plump rein­deer named Fred, and the re­mak­ing of Cindy’s mom as un­wed. (Could she be a love for the small-hearted bad boy? Kind of, maybe, but look, this isn’t Tol­stoy).

Any-who, our Grinch de­cides to can­cel the hol­i­day, or make it as bor­ing as, say, Ground­hog Day. He hops in­side chim­neys to hoover up toys, cer­tain to do it with an in­sou­ciant poise. Re­mem­ber, this guy is the an­timerry — the same one played not long ago by Jim Car­rey. Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch takes on the part, with an Amer­i­can ac­cent — to give him less heart?

Our nar­ra­tor here is Phar­rell Wil­liams, whose brief days at work likely paid him zil­lions. Ke­nan Thomp­son of “Satur­day Night Live” fame, de­liv­ers a char­ac­ter who is kind of lame. But An­gela Lans­bury has a nice cameo (that woman’s as price­less as an un­earthed Van Gogh).

The Grinch, di­a­bol­i­cally, dresses like Santy Claus, in an ul­tra-evil cloud of guf­faws. He beats by a few hours the real Kris Kringle. (No won­der this loner crea­ture never min­gles.) But a run-in with Cindy, as sweet as choco­late liquor, makes some­thing grow huge — that’s right, it’s his ticker.

The Whos down in Whoville don’t mind that they’re gift-less. They gather to­gether, sing and bear wit­ness. Christ­mas, they say, isn’t about trea­sure: It’s about fam­ily, friends and be­ing to­gether. Then they tuck into roast beast. You, on the other hand, may feel fleeced.

Credit goes to the film’s vis­ual ef­fects folk, who made fur alive and gave tex­ture to smoke. But re­tread­ing this story with a Cum­ber­batch, should send Hol­ly­wood big­wigs into the booby hatch. Be­fore you buy tick­ets and plan a nice din­ner, ask who ex­actly in Whoville thought this was a win­ner?

“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch,” a Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures re­lease, is rated PG with “brief rude hu­mour.”

One star out of four.

UNI­VER­SAL PIC­TURES VIA AP

This im­age re­leased by Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures shows the char­ac­ters Cindy-Lou Who, voiced by Cameron Seely, left, and Grinch, voiced by Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, in a scene from "The Grinch."

UNI­VER­SAL PIC­TURES VIA AP

This im­age re­leased by Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures shows the char­ac­ters Brick­le­baum, voiced by Ke­nan Thomp­son, left, and Grinch, voiced by Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, in a scene from "The Grinch."

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