A tale of three Grinches

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Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch

By Richard Roeper

Movie Review
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney


With How the Grinch Stole Christmas
In Nineteen Fifty-Seven
Dr. Seuss made such a splash
We were all in Whoville Heaven!

For years and years and years
The book remained a hit
So they made a cartoon special
And folks liked THAT quite a bit!

A man named Boris Karloff
Who starred in Frankenstein
Was the voice of the mean green Grinch
And he did much better than just fine!

The highlight of the TV show
Was a very funny tune
With words and phrases so very gross
If you were eating you’d put down your spoon!

Mr. Grinch was called a foul one with termites in his smile
With all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile
His heart was a “dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots”
His soul was “rubbish … mangled up in tangled-up knots”

We moaned and groaned and moaned and groaned
At this very garbage-y song
But we loved it every year
And sang it all night long!

The years passed by and by
But the Grinch was still quite groovy
So in the year 2000
They gave him a full-length movie!

Jim Carrey played the Grinch
And he was pretty funny
The movie was not great
But it made a lot of money!

(One problem with the movie
Was the residents of Whoville
Their makeup was so creepy
They could have been from Boo-ville)

Here’s a bit of Grinch-ian lore
You might find somewhat news-ical
It’s even been a Broadway play
That’s right, a full-fledged musical!

The kids who read The Grinch at first
Have children fully grown
And some of THOSE children
Have squiggly wiggly kids of their own!

So now comes a new take on the tale,
And this is quite a match:
The Grinch is voiced — just wait for it —
By the man called Cumberbatch!

It’s an animated, full-length adaptation-interpretation
And while it’s kind of sweet, it’s not really a sensation.

The thing about this Grinch, from the moment he’s onscreen
He’s mostly lost and lonely, and really not so mean
Even when he’s scheming to completely foul things up
We see he’s just a softie, when it comes to Max the pup.

Cumberbatch is fancy, like Eggs Benedict
I’m a fan of his, I am, I am, I am
But I wish his voice work as the Grinch
Had contained more Green Eggs and Ham

We get lots of slapstick chases
As they try to stretch the story
But all that does is make us think:
Sometimes LESS is more-y.

Rashida Jones adds a warm touch as Donna Lou Who
Cameron Seely sparkles as little Cindy Lou
And even though it feels as if the movie is overlong
Kenan Thompson provides some laughs as the cheerful Bricklebaum.

There’s a new take on “You’re a Mean One …” from Tyler, the Creator
And yes, that’s Pharrell Williams stepping in as the narrator
Two great talents! I was hoping to feel glee!
But in both cases, the work was fine but too low-key …

From time to time you’ll laugh and maybe shed a tear
But this isn’t the kind of Grinch you’ll want to see each year.

Chicago Sun-Times/Andrews McMeel Syndicaiton
Rating: ★★
MTRCB Rating: PG