Monday, December 9, 2013
Ernest Saves Christmas (John R. Cherry III, 1988) Review
Ernest (Jim Varney) is a bumbling yet good hearted man who gets caught up in an adventure when he winds up with Santa Claus' (Douglas Seale) magic sack. He attempts to give the sack back however Santa is too occupied with trying to find his replacement after doing the job for too long. If Ernest and Santa fail at finding the successor, Christmas will cease to exist.
This is definitely one annoying film. I can see many people disliking Ernest for being stupidly obnoxious and giving no room to the camera (seriously, his face gets too much close up time) and others will find the tag along kid while it uses a plot that leaves you wishing you were watching The Santa Clause. While others could argue that Ernest is meant to be annoying, I actually do like him just because he's a nice guy at heart...an annoying nice guy but still somewhat likable but these moments are few and far between...and this seems to force the kid in. I do like the scene when her story arc finishes but it takes a while for her to actually do anything substantial.
However, when this film gets something right...it gets it right (boy, that was redundant). Douglas Seale is easily one of the best Santa Clauses you will ever see in a film. Just imagine the Sultan's voice from Aladdin as Santa and you get the general idea. He makes this film and is the primary reason that this film is worth watching. In fact, this film does leave me with a nice Christmassy feeling that does make me want to rewatch the film...once you get through the awkward camera angles. I did find myself laughing at times but this isn't exactly a comedy masterpiece.
Ernest Saves Christmas is definitely a mixed bag (or sack as Santa goes about saying). On one hand, it's annoying and has so many elements that were unnecessary yet on the other it does a good job of portraying the spirit of Christmas and has one of, if not, the best Santa Clauses in any film. Do I recommend it? Yes and no. Watch it for Douglas Seale but don't come crying to me if you get freaked out by Jim Varney's face up close. Honestly, this would be on my Christmas annual watch if the DVD wasn't so hard to find...although now I've found it on demand, this is official part of my Christmas line up. Arthur Christmas is one I hope to check out soon too.
Somehow this film is both annoying and stupid and also good hearted and captures the spirit of Christmas.
Also, why did the sticker in Ernest's car say "Keep the Christ in Christmas" if it's a film about Santa Claus?