Every December during the annual TBS marathon of “A Christmas Story,” I think to myself: you know, they should really make a sequel to this beloved 1983 yuletide film. But the only way it will be good is if they set the action five years in the future, and Daniel Stern gets cast in the role of the Old Man, which was played to comedic perfection in the original by Darren McGavin.
Wait a second, I don’t think that. I’ve never thought that. That idea would not occur in 100 holiday seasons to most movie fans, especially those who cherish the sight of Peter Billingsley in a pink bunny suit.
Yet that has not stopped Warner Bros. from releasing “A Christmas Story 2,” the straight-to-DVD sequel that is all the things I describe above, but also, so much less.
Here’s the plot summary, courtesy of the press release issued today by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment:
“When 15 year-old Ralphie accidentally wrecks his dream car before even getting it off the lot, he and his friends Flick and Schwartz band together to raise the money to fix it by Christmas Eve – before the car dealer reports the incident to the police. They all get their (first!) jobs, but run into trouble at every turn. When things look most bleak, Ralphie finds the true meaning of Christmas with the help of his family and his friends.”
Are you telling me that Ralphie already misplaced the true meaning of Christmas even though he just found it five years ago, when his father gave him a BB gun and the whole family went out for Chinese food after the Bumpus hounds ruined their turkey? How is this possible? Also, per the image on the DVD’s cover, how could the Old Man — again, played here by Older Kevin Arnold — have won yet another major award that happens to be a leg lamp?
To be somewhat fair here, Jean Shepherd — whose writing inspired “A Christmas Story” and who also provided its narration — did pen essays about his (read: Ralphie’s) experiences as a teenager. So it’s not completely out of left field to continue the story of the Parkers, which was done previously in the little-seen 1994 film “It Runs in the Family.”
And yet, still. I mean. At the same time ... WHY?
As other outraged movie writers have noted, this unnecessary follow-up arrives Oct. 30, a few days before a musical version of “A Christmas Story” is set to debut on Broadway. Somehow, the idea of a splashy musical number about Flick’s tongue getting stuck to a flagpole is less disturbing than watching “A Christmas Story 2.”
Which of course means that I will have to review “A Christmas Story 2” come October to see how much of this sequel-bomination I can stand before it drives me to shoot my own eye out.