Movie Review: “Almost Christmas”

almost-photoBy Lyle Foster

Unite Contributing Writer

Well this movie is more testimony to the old adage that if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. I can’t be mad or jealous because Wil Packer is delivering money at the box office and laughs in the seats of movie theaters across the country with his latest release that is already a commercial success.  Yes, the film is about Christmas and he took the smart strategy to release the film before Thanksgiving because in this business timing is everything.  And of course it gives more time during the fairly short holiday season to get the film out to audiences.  For those of you with good movie memory you may recall a film with a similar title that came out in 2007 titled This Christmas.  That film cost 13 million to make and brought in about 73 million which is not too shabby.  The current Christmas production cost 17 million and has already brought in over 40 million and that doesn’t count Thanksgiving weekend and the actual holiday season that has now started plus the eventual DVD release.

If you see a little bit of frustration in my tone it is because it sometimes seems that the films targeted to black audiences are so predictable with the scene at the house, the church and maybe one public place.  It just leaves us so one dimensional and doesn’t give the range of depth with other experiences and locations.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Now to the film which has a fairly familiar cast with Gabrielle Union, Danny Glover, Omar Epps, Mo’Nique and Kimberly Elise.  It is actually nice to see Danny Glover in the film playing the family patriarch looking forward to all of his adult kids coming home after losing his wife not that long ago.  He is a settling figure and it is easy to relate to him and his strong desire to have a peaceful wonderful Christmas.  But if you saw the name Mo’Nique you already know that she is going to stir the pot.  While this is in general a family film the lines she delivers and the words that come out of her mouth are not family friendly of course.  Let’s just call it what it is she is a profanity machine but in the middle of it she delivers a lot of the comic relief and a few of the film’s bright moments after all she is a comedienne.  And you already know that when the kids come home their problems and differences come with them which brings about a lot of the plot, depth and story line of the film.  The entire cast is reputable and they all do a good job.   We know just from the story line this is not a film for the academy awards.  It is the type of film to go with a few friends and have a fair amount of laughter and think about your own relatives.  There is a lot of family fun and also some family healing in the film.  One of my favorite parts of the film is Danny Glover trying to make his wife’s sweet potato pie without the recipe and you can guess the kind of disasters that leads to.  This of course makes you realize how important the good old sweet potato pie is to black folks Christmas dinner.  I’m not sure why he didn’t go to Walmart and get some of that Patty pie.  Writing this makes me want to go set some…..lol.

I have made my comments but at the end of the day there are some sentimental moments and things we can all relate to in the film and most people will like it enough to give it a thumbs up.  After the shopping and football games most of us are ready for some distraction on the big screen and there is always something about a Christmas film that speaks to all of us and it is hard to resist.  Supposedly the main stars of the film have incredible social media followings and that has also been a part of the successful strategy to get word out about the film  I can’t blame them for that.  It is ok to believe in what you are in.  After all it is almost Christmas and with a film with the same title it is bound to be a winner and the box office will show that it is doing very well.

May each of you have a beautiful and special Christmas and celebrate the season!   88 out of 100