A Christmas Story Christmas

I was sure this was going to be a bad idea.

So many times when a film has a sequel set decades in the future, the sequel does not live up to the original and, in plenty of occasions, it is simply garbage. And this sequel comes almost 40 years after the original.

A Christmas Story is a beloved Christmas movie for many people, but I had never seen it until a couple of years ago when I did a Christmas movie binge. I did enjoy it that time, but I never would have thought it was ripe for a follow up.

Nor did I think that we needed to have Peter Billingsley to reprise his role as Ralphie. We also go returning actors Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, Zack Ward, and Ian Petrella playing Flick, Schwartz, Scut Farkus, and Randy, respectfully.

With so many factors working against it, A Christmas Story Christmas had no right to be good.

And yet, it was.

With the death of his Old Man, failing writer Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) returned to his hometown for Christmas with his wife Sandy (Erinn Hayes) and two children Mark (River Drosche) and Julie (Julianna Layne). Waiting for them was the widowed Mrs. Parker (Julie Hagerty), who wanted one thing… a Happy Christmas, despite their terrible loss.

That put the pressure of delivering a perfect Christmas on the shoulders of Ralphie, a weight that was dragging him down.

Even for someone who had not watched the original A Christmas Story until just recently, it was clear that this sequel was banking on nostalgia heavily, and it really worked. They flashed back to Ralphie’s childhood and used the trip down memory lane as both a sweet way to reminisce and a way to continue to stress Ralphie out.

It revisited several scenes that were extremely popular in the first film, including the trip to the mall to see Santa Claus and having to deal with a new generation of bullies.

Peter Billingsley narrated the film just like the grown up Ralphie (Jean Shepherd) narrated the original. The film broke the fourth wall a couple of times that added a little magic to the feels.

Are some of the sections a little silly? Sure. So was the first one. But everything worked well together and it gives you a warm Christmas feeling as the family shows the importance of the holiday. A Christmas Story Christmas should never have been this good, and yet, like opening that perfect Christmas present on Christmas morning, it is the unexpected that is the best.

4 stars

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