Top Five Christmas Comedies

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It's Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
December 4th, 2012

Top Five Christmas Comedies

-- One of the best parts of the holiday season is watching Christmas movies. Although many prefer the classics, like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "White Christmas," fans of comedies have many films to choose from during the most wonderful time of the year. If you like to spread cheer by quoting the hilarious lines from your favorite holiday flicks, you will likely be familiar with the following list highlighting the top five Christmas comedies.

"Christmas Vacation"

Any list of the funniest Christmas movies must include this classic comedy. Released in 1989, this film focuses on Clark Griswold, who is attempting to create the perfect family Christmas for his loved ones. Of course, everything goes wrong, and Clark fails time after time, always with sidesplitting results. Fans can relate with Clark's problems, as we've all tried to make Christmas special by getting a bigger tree or adding extra lights to our house. Clark eventually realizes that the key ingredient to the perfect family Christmas is simply the family itself. Along the way, though, there are classic scenes, such as Clark getting trapped in his attic, Audrey freezing while finding the tree, and Cousin Eddie kidnapping Clark's boss.

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

This 2000 film updates and expands upon the classic Dr. Seuss book and the 1966 television special. Adding the funny Jim Carrey as the title character, director Ron Howard assured himself of a hit comedy. Carrey transformed the Grinch, taking a grumpy creature and turning him into an amusing and entertaining protagonist. While the final third of the film essentially plays it straight by the book, Carrey adds so much to the story to fill in the gaps. From his childhood as a lovelorn preteen to the adult Grinch who is tricked into a peace agreement in the form of the Holiday Cheermeister Award, Howard's Grinch shows a new range of emotions and depth not seen in the book or television show. With Carrey basically performing standup in many scenes, the audience is treated to a movie full of laughs while waiting for the Grinch's small heart to grow.

"Elf"

Comedy fans were hooked as soon as we heard the premise of Will Ferrell playing a Christmas elf. Few probably realized, however, that this 2003 movie would quickly become a holiday classic. Playing Buddy, a human being who was raised at the North Pole by Santa Claus and his elves, Ferrell has plenty of opportunities to show his skills as a physical comedian. We know he isn't really a "cotton-headed ninny muggins," but it's still hysterical to see Buddy wandering around New York City, getting hit by taxis, and learning to use escalators. Fans always quote famous lines, from the elves' four food groups (candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup) to Buddy's constantly professing his love of singing. Of course, thanks to Buddy, we all now sing loud for all to hear.

"Christmas with the Kranks"

Released in 2004, this humorous flick is based on John Grisham's Skipping Christmas. The story of Luther Krank wanting to skip the holiday season and all of the spending that goes with it in order to pay for a cruise is funny enough. Portrayed on the screen by Tim Allen, though, Luther keeps the audience laughing constantly. His antics throughout the film are comical, such as when he stabs his face with a fork after a Botox injection or when he crawls around his house to avoid being seen by caroling neighbors on his lawn. Jamie Lee Curtis is wonderful as Nora Krank, often showing just how convoluted Luther has become and having to reel him in. Things get really funny when the Kranks' daughter Blair says she's coming home for the holidays, leaving Luther and Nora scrambling to throw together their annual Christmas Eve party at the last minute.

"Fred Claus"

Vince Vaughn is one of the funniest actors of our generation, and he is at his best here, portraying Santa's brother Fred in this 2007 flick. Fred needs to borrow money from his famous brother, and Santa (Paul Giamatti) requires him to work at the North Pole to earn the cash. Although some of the jokes are borrowed from "Elf" (a human in an elf's bed, for example), Vaughn's form of comedy is less physical and lies mainly in his dialogue delivery. The movie does a great job of depicting the North Pole, as Fred does his best to lighten things up for the elves.

The blend of Christmas and comedy is a perfect mix, allowing families to sit and laugh together during the holiday season. Many families have their own favorite Christmas comedies, and watching the films becomes part of the holiday tradition each year.