A Very Carrey Christmas

Using the same performance capture animation technique employed for 2004’s Polar Express and 2007’s Beowulf, Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol is another family friendly holiday feature from the veteran director known for Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. Zemeckis doesn’t mess with the Charles Dickens’ book much, quoting directly from it in the opening sequence which finds Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) busting out a “bah humbug” when his nephew Fred (Colin Firth) arrives to wish him a “merry Christmas.” Of course, Scrooge is in for a shock when he goes home and an apparition of his old boss Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman) arrives to warn him that he’s going to be visited by three ghosts before the night is over. “I’d rather not,” a frightened Scrooge responds, clearly repulsed by Marley’s rotting teeth and decaying flesh. Carrey plays all the ghosts, making the Ghost of Christmas Past rather whimsical and giving the Ghost of Christmas Present a maniacal, bellowing laugh. While the Ghost of Christmas Future doesn’t speak, he’s the most harrowing of the three, simply pointing Scrooge in the right direction with his skeletal finger. Though his recent attempts to show off his acting abilities have fallen short, Carrey is in good form here. He occasionally indulges in his exaggerated facial gestures and slapsticky antics but that’s is going to keep young viewers interested in the film. Well, that and the fabulous digital 3-D effects that often make it look like snowflakes are falling in front of your face. You can bet this movie, which opens area-wide on Friday, will bring in big box office numbers through the end of the year. ***