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Movie Review: 'Almost Christmas' New Holiday Classic

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: Universal Pictures) 


Another Christmas Classic to Add to List 




Christmas television shows and movies sometimes become redundant.

Certain movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” get airtime during every holiday season.

And in the Black community, movies like “This Christmas” and “A Madea Christmas” get shown over and over again.

Although the film can be considered derivative, “Almost Christmas” is funnier than “This Christmas” and “A Madea Christmas” combined.  Therefore, the new film starring Danny Glover and Oscar winner Mo’Nique (“Precious”) should replace the aforementioned films as the must-see Christmas movie every year in Black America.

“Almost Christmas” covers no new ground.  Elements of “This Christmas” and “Soul Food” can be found throughout the film.

Nevertheless, “Almost Christmas” is just extremely hilarious and filmmaker David E. Talbert’s best film to date.

In “Almost Christmas,” Walter (Glover) is at a crossroads in life.

He has raised four children with his wife, but now that his beloved wife is deceased, the family home is not the same anymore, not even the meals.

It has always been a family tradition to gather at Christmas time for fellowship and food, including his wife’s world famous sweet potato pie.

But unless Walter can match her cooking without her recipes, Christmas will not be the same anyway.

Like every family, Walter’s children come home with their baggage, both their physical baggage and emotional luggage.

Rachel (Gabrielle Union) is a single mother who does not know what she wants in life.

She has tried every profession.  But now she is in law school with no money to pay for her legal education.

When a man tries to assist her in life, she gets offended saying that she does not need a man’s help to do something that she is capable of doing herself.

She does not get along with her sister, Cheryl (Kimberly Elise).

Cheryl has a solid career with a former NBA player, Lonnie (J.B. Smoove), as a husband.

The only problem is that Lonnie has a wandering eye and an obsession with his past NBA glory.

He is even delusional enough to think that working at Best Buy for two weeks qualifies him as an electrician.

When Lonnie volunteers to fix the moving Santa Claus on the top of Walter’s house, his nieces and nephew break out their cell phones in order to capture some footage to put on

Walter’s son Christian (Romany Malco) has the potential to land in the White House one day.

However, his busy schedule leads to very little family time.

And his political connections might lead to the demise of an institution that was very dear to his parents in their Birmingham, Ala. neighborhood.

Evan (Jessie T. Usher) was Walter and his wife’s surprise baby, born when they were in their 50s.

He is a star football player, who dreamed of having his mother with him on draft day.

Now Evan struggles with dealing with the pain of a football injury and the pain of his mother’s absence.

The question is can all of the family members get through Christmas in one piece?

Furthermore, can they survive the subpar cooking of Walter and his diva sister-in-law Aunt May (Mo’Nique)?

The film “Almost Christmas” will remind fans of why they miss Mo’Nique so much on film.

Her Academy Award winning career has stalled a bit because of Hollywood politics, but she singlehandedly carries the comedy in this film as if it is her own stand up comedy special.

Her performance makes her hilarious performance in “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” look like a beginner’s work.

Furthermore, seeing a successful and somewhat normal African-American family on screen is always a plus.

Unfortunately, as previously stated, the film is a bit derivative and is not innovative in any way.

However, like Mo’Nique’s performance, “Almost Christmas” makes Talbert’s previous work like “Baggage Claim” and “First Sunday” look like child’s play.


Talbert now has a classic Christmas film that will live on in Black America for many years to come.






This article was published on Friday 11 November, 2016.
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