I watched half of The Christmas Chronicles 2 on my laptop with headphones while my son napped in the next room. I watched the second half on my main TV. With my wife present. It looked like the sheer level of meaningless computer-generated fuckery was going to make her brain leak from her nose. Every time I tried to explain what happened before she joined in, she stopped me: “I don’t care. I really don’t.” I kept doing it because I’m a really funny person and she’s lucky to be married to such a thoughtful guy.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 gives every viewer the Aly experience: It’s a loud, incessant, grating Christmas movie that never seems to end, continually piling more and more and more and more and more and more nonsensical crap into your brain with a dash of hackneyed, Christopher Columbus-family-film emotion … but you can’t help but love it anyway.
This movie picks up where the first Christmas Chronicles left off, with Kate (Darby Camp) still mourning her father. Her mother has found a new beau played by Tyrese Gibson, who sings and is generally affable because he needed a paycheck between Fast movies. In the last movie, Kate’s brother, Teddy (Judah Lewis), met Santa (Kurt Russell) with her. Unfortunately, Teddy hit puberty and only chases girls now, so Kate is joined by Jack (Jahzir Burno), Tyrese’s scared but nice son. Frankly, Jack is better than Teddy, anyway. This time around, Kate and Jack are swept up in the evil machinations of the Belsnickel (Julian Dennison), a former elf living the skux life with a plan to ruin Christmas. Goldie Hawn is here, too, as Mrs. Claus — which was an amusing twist at the end of the first movie that doesn’t pay off that much here because it was funnier as a kindhearted grace note.
Look, I like Russell and Dennison. Can’t complain. There are some weird Back to the Future-ish moments too, where Kate travels back 30 years to the long-lost days of 1990, when Chris Columbus was still making movies people cared about.
Sure, I sound like a grinch. I don’t mean to. The Christmas Chronicles 2 once again delivers on the promise of a crotchety-fun Santa played by one of our great thespians. Dennison is a good advantage as the villain. The movie is imaginative in the sense that it never, ever stops. There’s a lot here. Grenade cookies, elf revolts, reindeer-versus-hyena sleigh races, time travel. Can’t beat it, I guess.