A mis­un­der­stood Grinch who’s green with envy

This ver­sion of the clas­sic tale shows a dif­fer­ent, sur­pris­ing side to the Whos and the Grinch

StarMetro Vancouver - - DAILY LIFE - Peter How­ell MOVIE CRITIC

1/2 (out of 4)

The three words that best de­scribe The Grinch are as fol­lows, and I quote: Who woulda thunk?

Who woulda thunk that Yar­row Cheney and Scott Mosier, the lat­est film­mak­ers to big-screen Dr. Seuss’s Yule­tide clas­sic How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas!, would find equal if un­spo­ken in­spi­ra­tion from an­other hol­i­day peren­nial, A Char­lie Brown Christ­mas?

This cu­ri­ous in­car­na­tion of the Grinch, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally voiced by Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, re­veals the sea­sonal meanie to be more Char­lie Brown lonely boy than Christ­mas-hat­ing mis­an­thrope. He’s green with envy, yearn­ing for Christ­mas fel­low­ship he never re­ally knew and strug­gling to un­der­stand the joy of oth­ers.

In this telling of the Seussian saga, the Grinch was or­phaned and ex­iled from Whoville to des­o­late nearby Mount Crumpit, with only his dog Max for com­pany. He stares down in de­spair and fury at the colour­ful Who cot­tages.

The mer­ry­mak­ing Whos are hap­pily more di­verse than be­fore: Ke­nan Thomp­son voices a jolly char­ac­ter named Brick­le­baum and Phar­rell Wil­liams nar­rates.

But the Whos aren’t saints. They’re as neg­li­gent about of­fer­ing as­sis­tance to guys like the Grinch as they are with obey­ing con­struc­tion safety codes and noise by­laws. Pooh­pooh to the Whos!

The Grinch is still plan­ning to steal Christ­mas as be­fore, but now he’s do­ing a prac­tice run us­ing a drone cam­era.

The best bits are at the start, where we learn more about the Grinch’s lonely daily rou­tine. Who knew he wears tighty whities in bed, shops for Who Hash at the Who Foods store and ser­e­nades him­self by play­ing Eric Car­men’s “All By My­self ” on a gi­ant baroque or­gan?

Read How­ell’s full re­view at thes­tar.com/movies

IL­LU­MI­NA­TION/UNI­VER­SAL PIC­TURES

Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch en­thu­si­as­ti­cally voices the lat­est it­er­a­tion of The Grinch.

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