Jim Carrey Brings Humor to Holiday Films

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
December 18th, 2012

Jim Carrey Brings Humor to Holiday Films

-- Jim Carrey is an actor who knows the ins and outs of comedy. Much of his gross-out humor appeals to adults, but he also tried his hand at drama with films like "The Truman Show" and "The Majestic." He decided to take his sense of comedy to the holiday film genre with the 2000 release "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and the 2009 film "A Christmas Carol." While both films tell classic holiday stories, the two have some deeper similarities.

"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" uses the original book as source material for the film. As the children's book is short, the screenwriter added additional elements to the story, including giving the Grinch a backstory. According to the film, the Grinch (Carrey) was an aberration who got a second chance at life when two older sisters took him into their home.

The other children frequently teased him and made fun of his appearance. After developing a crush on Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski, "Mama Mia!"), he shaved off the facial hair that made him different from the others kids and made her a Christmas gift. That led to even more teasing, and he eventually ran away to live on his own. Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen, "Gossip Girl") discovers his past and tries to bring him back to Whoville. Though he tries to become a member of society again, the same characters who teased him as children start teasing him again, and he decides to steal Christmas.

"A Christmas Carol" tells the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge (Carrey) and his miserly ways. After ignoring his only family, making his employee work on the holiday, and generally being a pest, he goes home and finds himself visited by different ghosts. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds him of the joys he experienced in life, while the Ghost of Christmas Present shows him how his actions affect those around him. At the end of the night, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows him his future if he doesn't change his ways. Scrooge then questions his life and decides whether to make a change.

Each film focuses on the backstory of the main character to show why each one changed. Scrooge was once a caring man who was close to his sister and engaged to the love of his life. After she left him and his sister died, he threw himself into work to escape from the hardships of life. The Grinch once wanted nothing more than a happy childhood until he found himself the object of the others kids' ridicule.

The stories also show that each character seems happy with their lives. The Grinch seems perfectly content living on a solitary mountain with only his dog for company, while Scrooge thinks that money is the only thing that he needs. Both the Grinch and Scrooge concern themselves with their own lives with little regard for anyone else.

At the heart of each story is a tale of redemption, achieved with a little help from one or more characters. Cindy Lou invites the Grinch to celebrate the holidays in Whoville after discovering the problems he had as a child. She is the one character who touches his heart and makes him think that he has a second chance at life. When he runs through town stealing from every house in his path, she is the one who makes him stop by simply wishing him a merry Christmas and encouraging everyone to sing.

Scrooge's help comes in the form of the three ghosts who visit him on Christmas Eve. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him what life is like for his poor nephew and his family. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds him of the love that he once had for others. By the time the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, Scrooge is ready for a change. That ghost gives him the push that makes him become a better man.

While both "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol" share some similar themes, the films are quite different. Carrey covers himself in green makeup, fake hair, and prosthetics that turn him into the Christmas-hating Grinch in one film. He finds himself a step above a cartoon character in the other film, which uses computer animated motion-capture technology. Both films cover his face and body, but both films allow his comedic genius to shine as he makes jokes and twists his body into contorted positions. Both "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol" tell classic versions of iconic holiday stories in a new and exciting way.

Attention Christmas movie lovers!! There’s a contest underway over on Movie Room Review’s Pinterest page. They’re offering twelve holiday classics in their Christmas Movie Giveaway. Check out the contest board for details on how to enter!