CHRISTMAS CHRONICLE 2 – Review by Susan Granger

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To get into the holiday spirit – you may be wondering what’s new at the North Pole.

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn team up for the first time in 30 years – since their 1987 comedy Overboard – under the aegis of Chris Columbus – to play Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The story picks up two years after the first movie. A ‘True Believer’ in Santa Claus, Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) is now into self-centered teenage rebellion, furious that she has to spend her Christmas vacation in Cancun, Mexico, with her widowed mom Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), her older brother Teddy (Judah Lewis),her mom’s beau Bob (Tyrese Gibson)and his son Jack (Jahizer Bruno).

She’s into serious sulking when nefarious Belsnickel (Julian Dennison), a banished elf-turned-human with a New Zealand accent, sends unsuspecting Kate and Jack through a wormhole to the North Pole.

Then they’re off on an Arctic action-adventure, complete with sleigh chases that eventually take Kate back in time to Boston’s Logan International Airport in 1990. That’s where Santa teams up with Darlene Love for an impromptu musical number – “The Spirit of Christmas” – with stranded holiday travelers.

Back in 1990, Chris Columbus directed Home Alone, which has become a Christmas classic. Now he’s into subversive sub-plots and origin myth-making, casting Malcolm McDowell as Hakan, the magical Forest Elf elder who helps re-ignite the Christmas Star.

Columbus slyly inserts some elf-centric fandom fun by having the Santa’s Village Theater playing “Elf.” Then when the elves are infected with ‘Elfbane,’ the marquee subtly switches to “Bad Santa.”

The Yulish (Elvish) dialogue was created by “Game of Thrones” language consultant David J. Peterson. And you can glimpse Chris Columbus’ real-life daughter, Violet, as the Airport cashier who gives Kate grief over a $20 bill.

Bottom line: there’s a family-friendly life-lesson that Christmas is more about who you celebrate the holiday with, rather than where you celebrate it.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Christmas Chronicles 2” is a sweetly sentimental 7 – streaming on Netflix.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.