My Father Was An Oldsmobile Man: A Christmas Story Christmas (2022) - Reviewed

image courtesy HBO Max

Ralphie and the gang are back forty years later for a delightful and almost perfectly rendered sequel that continues the timeless message of the original 1983 classic. In a cinematic era where many of us are missing quality family entertainment that we can share with our children, A Christmas Story Christmas is here to remind us of the holiday spirit and how nostalgia can be sugary sweet.

Using the same formula as Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Creed, A Christmas Story Christmas is a legacy sequel that relies on the original for its main story line and themes, offering up just enough originality to keep things entertaining but familiar. This keeps it fresh for old fans and introduces new viewers to characters they can learn to know and love. Death does linger over the entirety of the film which does make it a bit darker and heavier than the first, but without some sense of loss this movie wouldn't exist.  

For those of us that grew up with the first, this is a reminder of better times that feels like we're back home, cuddled up with some hot chocolate by a blazing fire. There are neighborhood dogs. There are delicious turkeys. There's Black Bart. And there are lifelong best friends, Schwartz and Flick (also played by the original actors) as a hilarious slapstick balance to Ralph's goofy and sometimes flawed narrative. 


Set in the '70s, Ralphie and his small brood return to his childhood home after the Old Man has passed away right before the Christmas holiday. The resulting ninety minutes is one we can all sympathize with as Ralph finds his childhood and adulthood staring each other face to face. His lifelong dreams of becoming a published author have been dashed and he's coming to terms with the passing of his father, the protector of all things Christmas. Now an adult and father of two, Ralph must muster the strength to carry on in his father's place and make it the best Christmas ever. Of course, he's sidelined by bullies, a much older and wiser Scut Farkus, a sledding incident, and numerous physical injuries to everyone around him. Sometimes it feels a bit to close to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in its plot points, but we digress. It's Christmas, after all. 

If anything, A Christmas Story Christmas has its heart in the right place. It carries a simple message and is never overthought. It's all about nostalgia here and it works more often than not. No sequel is ever perfect, especially when you have forty years between release dates, but this one really does exactly what it should. Luckily, the folks behind the movie use flashbacks to limited effect as scene recalls do become a bit over bearing at times.

If you just want to watch something that doesn't require thinking and you adore A Christmas Story, give this one a watch. Don't look for perfection or originality and you might just walk away with a smile. This won't ever find itself on constant 24 hour repeat during the holidays, but it's a nice escape that deserves your time.