Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie Review: "Ernest Saves Christmas" (1988)

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Movie"Ernest Saves Christmas"
Director: John R. Cherry III
Year: 1988
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Santa Claus (Douglas Seale) is set to retire and has come to Orlando, Florida to seek out his replacement. He plans to pass his magic to a children's show host names Joe Carruthers (Oliver Clark). Santa is having more trouble than expected as many people assume he is just an insane old rambling man, which lands him locked up for vagrancy. So taxi driver, Christmas lover, and true believer in Santa Claus, Ernest P. Worrall (Jim Varny) comes to his aid.

Jim Varny is Ernest P. Worrell in "Ernest Saves Christmas." For those unfamiliar with the character of Ernest, he was first conceived for and appeared in television commercials for various different products. His catchphrases "Hey Vern" an "knowwhatImean" became part of the lexicon for 80's children everywhere. The popularity of this marketing icon landed him a television series, though it was short lived, and a series of relatively low budget comedy films. Since BigJ grew up with him and I didn't, I seriously don't get the appeal of Ernest and really don't like him as a character. The comedy stylings of Ernest involve making numerous funny expressions with his rubber-like face, and his often good intentions that result in a series rather destructive slapstick gags. Ernest also occasionally dons a disguise, trying out many different characters and voices from a buxom old woman in a neck brace to a grimy, slack-jawed snake handler. His humor, and of course his films, are clearly meant to appeal to the elementary school aged kids and younger. Very little of what Ernest does will appeal to an adult crowd, leaving most to simply tolerate the film until its conclusion with maybe an occasional chuckle at the sheer absurdity of it all. The film does at least try to capture the Christmas spirit the best it can and portrays a good message about being honest and kind to others throughout its run time, but it's simply not enough. Some people give a pass to kids movies, saying they only have to appeal to children, but let's be honest, most of the time, kids like crap. There are two types of kids movies: those you enjoyed as a kid and can still enjoy as an adult, and those you enjoyed as a kid but watch as an adult and think, "how did I ever really like this?" Unfortunately, "Ernest  Saves Christmas," and pretty much all of his films, fall into the latter category. It's plain and simple, crap at its best. Not worth a watch, unfunny, and though the Christmas spirit and heart is in the right place, we simply cannot overlook all the awful, sub-par humor Ernest has to offer.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 38%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were watching"The Muppet Christmas Carol"

Two years ago, we were watching: "The Polar Express"

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