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Legacy sequel to one of the greatest Christmas movies of all-time takes place in 1973 with an adult Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) now a married, down on his luck writer struggling as Christmas approaches. He sadly gets a call from his mother (Julie Hagerty) that his father (Darren McGavin in footage from the original) has died. With pennies to his name, Ralphie loads up his family into their car and heads back home to Hohman, Indiana to spend Christmas with his mother.

Well intended flick is directed by Clay Kaytis from a script and story by he, Nick Schenk and star Peter Billingsley. It really tries hard to recreate the magic and tone of the original, but it feels forced instead of part of the story as in the first film. No more evident than Ralphie’s elaborate daydream sequences. They fall flat here where they were absolutely delightful in the original movie. It lacks the heartfelt whimsy of A Christmas Story, though one can still appreciate what the makers were trying to do, even if it doesn’t work nearly as well as the first time around. This holiday flick is also a bit too drama heavy at times to be the light breezy fun the original film was and still is. Sure, it is amusing to see Ralphie, Flick (Scott Schwartz), Schwartz (R.D. Robb), Randy (Ian Petrella) and even Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) and Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) again played by the original actors, but even some of their roles seem forced in instead of a natural part of the story. Ralphie’s wife and kids (Erinn Hayes, River Drosche and Julianna Layne) aren’t nearly as memorable as they need to be either, especially amongst all the other classic characters. It’s not terrible and certainly not unwatchable, but it just doesn’t recapture the magic that it tries a little too hard to recreate.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating