2012 / Director. Brian Levant.
It's logical to approach A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 with caution. The original 1983 movie has become a holiday institution and remains one of the most endearing Christmas films of all time. The title is also misleading because this is actually the THIRD film in the franchise, following 1994s IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY (aka My Summer Story). The movie should have been called Another Christmas Story - or something to that effect. An added warning sign is that this was a made for television event. So with my expectations lowered to the point of submersion, my family and I pressed play and watched A CHRISTMAS STORY 2. Ha, low and behold the movie was a treat. We all enjoyed it and coming from a film-geek's perspective I was thrilled with director Brian Levant's capturing of the original aesthetic. 1950's America has been recreated wonderfully on all accounts. The wardrobe, set design, dialogue, family values etc. Yes, they've definitely remained true to Bob Clarke's original film - what a relief. The story catches up with the Parker family five years after the events of the original. Ralphie is now a teenager, falling for girls and desperate to get his driver's license. The rest of the family remain the same... Mr Parker is still a frugal tight-wad while Mrs Parker knows best and sweeps up everyone's mess. A lot of the original charm is lost, mostly due to the original creator/narrator (Jean Shepherd) having passed away some years ago. His role has been adopted by writer Nat Mauldin, who does a decent job of it but lacks the enthusiasm that Shepherd embodied. Daniel Stern is also miscast as Mr Parker and he's no substitute for Darren McGavin or Charles Grodin. Once you accept that he has his own take on the character, he still brings some nice moments to the film. A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 was never going to top the previous two movies, but it does offer a suitable alternative for when you've watched those ones to death. If you love A CHRISTMAS STORY then you might just enjoy this and if not you, then perhaps the kids will get a kick out of it. Decent family fun.