An 80s comedy classic if ever there was one. Oh how I wish for the giddy old days when Eddie Murphy was hilarious, when you knew you were in for a treat when he popped up on screen with his infectious laugh. Sadly those days seem long gone. This comedy caper, however, serves up no end of treats. It has some humorous dialogue (“When I was growing up, if we wanted a Jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub!”) as well as brilliant sight gags (seeing a bruised and dirty Dan Aykroyd, dressed as the grubbiest Santa you’ve ever seen, stuff a whole smoked salmon down behind his red coat and then nibble on it on the Subway is priceless) and some wonderful comic acting (Aykroyd and Murphy were great, but Denholm Elliott as the subservient Coleman was pitch-perfect). The whole stock market trading scenario is still a complete bloody mystery to me, and if you look at Murphy’s face during the climax you’ll realise he has no idea either!
How had I not heard of this movie?! I haven’t had this much fun from a Christmas film in quite some time. The idea of an older man (voiced by Jean Shepherd, the author of the source material In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash) narrating from the perspective of a 9 year old boy was an inspired decision by director Bob Clark. If your only experience with such things before is Look Who’s Talking (or worse, its sequels) do not judge this by that! It works extremely well here and gives our 9 year old protagonist both an air of sophistication and a worldly wise sense of reason and humour. It is a joy to see things from his point of view. The basic driving plot concerns our young narrator wanting a BB gun for Christmas, but much of the film is actually made of anecdotal snippets of his life – along with his friends and family – around Christmas time. The plot may seem rather disjointed, but it is via these vignettes that much of the random humour is created – the Chinese Christmas turkey scene had me in stitches. This is laugh out loud funny and all actors pull their weight and play their parts to perfection. I cannot wait to see it with my children when they are a little older and can well see this becoming an annual Christmas movie rite. I hope so at least.
Another lonely voice on the internet.