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Movies You Aught Not Watch: Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

by on March 10, 2010
 

Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.

“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Rated PG
2000

Kids and parents worldwide clearly have missed what modern filmmakers see in Dr. Seuss’s work — the seeds to turn storytelling patience into manic, pushy movies like “The Cat in the Hat” and 2000’s “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” What’s next — the Lorax onscreen knocking people out with Truffula Tree trunks?

Ron Howard’s “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” loudly, aggressively defiles Seuss’s source — crudely, cynically mining that material to feed a misery machine. This film has the gall to spit in the audience’s gaping mouths with a joke about children desensitized by movies.

An unforgivable transgression from the usually reliable Howard, “Grinch” had the visual polish of a Menards tree aisle and resembled not a cheerful Christmas, but rather what the bloodcurdling onset of a mescaline bender might feel like.

It also marked the nadir of Jim Carrey’s wild-gesticulation performances. His voice sounded like a Sean Connery-aping brogue you’d hear from a frat brother after a few pitchers, and it seemed a cruel joke to give romantic stirrings to an anatomically neutered character.

That’s one of many kid-inappropriate steps in Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman’s script, rife with gags about infidelity, bastard children and, possibly, a key party in Whoville (a city populated by impatient, self-absorbed competitive asses).

A Navy SEAL taught Carrey torture-resistance techniques to take his mind off entrapment in the suit. If only that kind of emotional valet had been provided for anyone in the audience with an age, or IQ, over 5.