Ralphie Parker and the clan are back for a new adventure in this official direct-to-DVD sequel to the 1983 Christmas classic. While it’s not even close to the same level as its original, it holds somewhat ok on its own.
It has been six years since Ralphie Parker has been given his dream gift of a Red Ryder BB gun. Now a teenager, Ralphie has a new dream as another Christmas in Hammond, Illinois is around the corner. Ralphie now dreams of getting a car. Along with best friends Schwartz and Flick, Ralphie eyes the car he wants. However, a mishap causes Ralphie to have to pay for the damage caused by his misuse of the car on the lot.
Ralphie and his friends get jobs at the mall. The idea is to get enough money to pay for the damages after the owner of the car dealership threatens to put Ralphie in jail. As Ralphie and his friends gather the money, Ralphie gets his first major crush on a girl, Drucilla Gootrad. His father is still his father, attempting to fix the furnace. His mother is still his mother, and Randy is still Randy. While his hormones are budding, will Ralphie once again get his dream Christmas gift of a car?
In all retrospect in the world of Jean Shepherd, this is actually the third film of the Ralphie Parker saga, with the classic A Christmas Story in 1983 and a summer-set sequel, It Runs in the Family, in 1994 with Kieran Culkin playing Ralphie. However, for one reason or another, it was decided to bring back Ralphie for another Christmas story.
Let’s start with the flaws of the film. For one, it is clear that this will never be on the level of the 1983 original film. As a matter of fact, even the makers of the film knew that it will never live up to it. A lot of the gags are reminiscent of the original film but according to one’s views, it could just be a pointless retread of its predecessor. Another issue is that with a movie filmed in our day of age, there are too many flatulence jokes that after a while, get extremely boring. Another flaw is that the original creator, Jean Shepherd, passed away in 1999, five years after he reprised the role of adult Ralphie in It’s in the Family. The narration here is done by this film’s screenwriter Nat Mauldin, who just doesn’t have that Shepherdesque (yes I made that word up) feel in the narration.
Despite these flaws, the film is not a complete pitiful direct-to-DVD sequel. Daniel Stern takes over for Darren McGavin as the Old Man and makes it his own in some fashion. The producers cast actor/musician Braeden Lemasters in the role of Ralphie and as much as this may sound crazy, Lemasters somewhat looks like how Ralphie would look six years later. While he is no Peter Billingsley, Lemasters makes the best of playing teenage Ralphie. Once again, Ralphie drives the film but with the hormones budding, he’s destined to get himself in worse trouble and it shows. Notably missing character wise are the town bullies Scut Farkas and Grover Dill (they did appear in It’s in the Family), but they are the least of teen Ralphie’s issues as he experiences love for the first time. The ending is quite a hoot with the return of a special “prize”.
While it will never even be close as its original, A Christmas Story 2 is a mixed bag that while makes the best of a new actor taking on the role of Ralphie Parker, the gags are sometimes very boring and the fart jokes are one too many. However, it’s not a complete disaster in which Daniel Stern and Braeden Lemasters do in fact make the film somewhat watchable in the roles of the Old Man and Ralphie.
WFG RATING: C
A Warner Brothers Pictures production. Director: Brian Levant. Producers: Phillip B. Goldfine and Brian Levant. Writers: Nat Mauldin; based on the novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” by Jean Shepherd. Cinematography: Jan Kiesser. Editing: Roger Bondelli.
Cast: Daniel Stern, Braeden Lemasters, Stacey Travis, Valin Shinyei, Gerard Plunkett, David Michael Paul, David W. Thompson, Tiera Skovbye, Nat Mauldin.