There's something about the excess sentimentality of Christmas that has inspired some cynical and/or ironic Christmas "specials" in comedy (Bad Santa, A Blackadder Christmas Carol), horror (Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night) and even children's movies (The Nightmare Before Christmas). The gang from Paddy's Pub enters the seasonal fray with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas.

It's Christmas Eve in Philly and the gang is getting ready for a traditional Christmas. Charlie (Charlie Day) and Mac (Rob McElhenney) plan to get wasted and spend Christmas Day throwing rocks at trains. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) are bracing for another holiday where their father Frank (Danny DeVito) buys exactly what they want -- but keeps it for himself. (This year he shows up driving the Lamborghini Dennis wanted, and he uses the designer purse Dee wanted to store cheesy snacks and malted milk balls.) There's also a giant snow machine in the bar.

Things chance when everyone makes some discoveries. Charlie and Mac each learn the horrible truth behind what their parents did as "traditions" and try to make up for it by finding the Christmas spirit. Meanwhile Dennis and Dee learn that Frank's deceased former business partner that he swindled is alive, and they decide to use him to expose Frank to their own version of A Christmas Carol -- and get reparations. And, as in the television series, nothing goes right for any of them.

In fact, while A Very Sunny Christmas was released on dvd, it might as well have been a two-part episode of the television series. This is both good and bad. Like the tv series, there's plenty of twisted humor, from the elaborate plans to simple gags like Charlie's fascination with the game Simon. But though being on dvd allows for a lot more profanity -- I suspect they could have gotten away with showing Danny DeVito's ass on cable -- they don't do more with the freedom of a straight-to-dvd release. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas is funny, but it should have been shown on tv or added to the next season of the show instead of being released on its own. Still, it's pretty funny. As Frank exclaims, "Merry Christmas bitches!"

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: