A Christmas Story Live! (2017)

christmas story live poster 2017 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Solid cast, change up in the script from the movie

3 hours long, The musical isn't the movie, time better spent watching the movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:   A Christmas Story Live!

Studio:    Warner Horizons Television

Genre(s):   Musical/Comedy

Release Date(s):   December 17, 2017

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

christmas story live santa ralphie david allen grier

All I want for Christmas is for these three hours to be over…

Ralph Parker (Matthew Broderick) remembers his childhood and Christmas.  It’s the 1940s, and Ralphie (Andy Walken) is dreaming of a Red Ryder BB Gun this Christmas.  Unfortunately his mother (Maya Rudolph) thinks he’ll shoot his eye out and his Old Man (Chris Diamantopoulos) doesn’t seem to ever hear him.  Christmas is coming fast and Ralphie is running out of options…BB gun mania knows no loyalty.

Directed by Alex Rudzinski, A Christmas Story Live! adapts the 2012 stage musical based on the 1983 cult Christmas movie.  The original source material was the 1966 Jean Shepherd novel In God We Trust:  All Others Pay Cash.  The special premiered live on FOX on December 17, 2017.

The live musical trend is something that is a novelty but it also has some interest in the production side.  You have a bunch of actors who aren’t necessarily used to doing musical or used to doing live performances being thrust on a huge stage, and this combines with musicals of varying level of interest…A Christmas Story Live! suffers from the musical side more than the acting side.

christmas story live leg lamp

It’s a major reward!

The story for the movie and the musical are virtually the same with some twists.  With a three hour televised running time, it makes sitting through the musical a bit tough to begin with especially when you know where the story is going and how lines are even delivered.  It was moments that deviated from the movie that worked (like the line about Aunt Clara’s mustache and the switch up on the singers at the Chinese restaurant were high points).

A lot of the cast is strong.  It is asking a lot of young Andy Walken to not only carry the musical as the star but also have to replace Peter Billingsley’s iconic turn as Ralphie.  His performance is a bit of struggle between his own performance and imitation of the original.  Maya Rudolph is a good choice as the mother and has a lot of experience with live performances, the father Chris Diamantopoulos has likewise done a lot of stage as well as Matthew Broderick and Jane Krakowski.  Ana Gasteyer shows up for a Hanukkah song, and David Allen Grier and Fred Armisen are Santa and his elf with Ken Jeong as the tree salesman (and Chinese restaurant owner).

christmas story live flag pole tongue stuck

I shouldn’t stick my tongue to a pole…that kid did it in that 1983 movie….

The musical suffers from the visuals.  It is hard to put on a stage play and harder to put on a televised play.  The sets have to be able to be manipulated but they also have to be camera friendly.  With A Christmas Story Live! you do not really know the music (at least most people don’t) so you can’t really enjoy the fun of performances of your favorite songs.  FOX’s presentation of Grease Live! set a high bar, and this musical just doesn’t live up to the level of that production visually.  You find yourself watching for errors…there were a number of them (clipped mics, props falling over, etc.), but nothing tragic.

A Christmas Story Live! feels unnecessarily but not because the movie is a classic.  I finally sculpted, non-live performance of the musical might have worked better, but the spectacle of putting on a live musical outweighed the benefit of a solid taped musical.  The three hour running doesn’t help a tired production…you might want to shoot your eye out.

Related Links:

A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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