It's that time of year again and when I pulled out the Christmas movies this was the first one I wanted to watch. I think this is probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time, and even though I've seen it so many times I can practically recite it, it's still hilarious.
The synopsis is pretty simple - Gus, a washed-up cat burglar (Leary), gets into a snafu when he attempts to rob a wealthy house in a small town in Connecticut on Christmas Eve. He ends up on the run from the police, and in desperation kidnaps what he thinks is an average suburban couple - Caroline and Lloyd (Davis & Spacey) - and forces them to take him to their house while he figures out what to do next. Caroline and Lloyd are, of course, as dysfunctional as they come - on the brink of divorce and deliciously nasty to one another. And, since it's Christmas Eve, the in-laws are coming to dinner - hostage situation or not. It's family dysfunction at it's best, and anyone who has EVER suffered through tense family dinners, dreaded holiday get-togethers, or had the mother-in-law from hell can probably relate to this movie.
I'm sure I'm dating myself my saying this, but I remember Denis Leary's early stand-up days and I always thought he was funny. There's something about that sarcastic wit combined with angry rants that just leaves you howling with laughter. Add Kevin Spacey (pure genius), Judy Davis, Christine Baranski (Sheldon's hilarious mother on Big Bang), and Glynis Johns and you have the makings of one the sharpest, funniest movies I've ever seen.
No, this is NOT a family-friendly Christmas movie. This one is purely for the grown-up table - and a table with more than a few empty wine bottles at that. The humor is very dark, the characters are very sarcastic, and the dialogue is sharp, biting, and liberally laced with profanity. You'll know in the first five minutes whether or not you'll like this movie with Caroline and Lloyd's marriage counseling session - I'd quote my favorite lines but none of it would make it past the sensors, lol.
But underneath all the sniping is a VERY heartwarming movie about the best and the worst parts of the most important thing of all...family. There's a delightful twist to the end (which you will see coming a mile away), and I swear this movie fills me with more Christmas spirit than Miracle on 34th Street and the Muppet's Christmas Carol combined.
Love, love, LOVE this movie. Highly recommend it to anyone who likes dark humor, can relate to dysfunctional families, and gets a kick out of Christmas movies like Scrooged and Christmas Vacation.
**NOTE about the DVD - it's a terrible transfer, and the newer your TV the worse it's probably going to look. For some reason the "widescreen" doesn't fit the TV screen (tried it on three different TVs and it was the same on all of them). It's stretched across the screen with black bars at the top and bottom. The only way to make it "fit" is to zoom it, which makes it even blurrier. I wish there was a decent transfer available, or better yet a Blu-Ray copy, but this movie is SO GOOD that I'm happy to take what I can get. The picture may be strange, but it's better than not having it at all. I can't imagine my Christmas without "Excuse me, excuse me, EXCUSE ME!! If you don't mind, the corpse STILL has the floor!" lol!