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The Hollywood Insider Grumpy Christmas Review

Photo: ‘Grumpy Christmas’

You would imagine that we would reach a cap of Christmas movies to love and binge, but every season we are pleasanyly surprised. 2021 brought with it ‘Grumpy Christmas’ a perfect holiday flick. Don Servando, known as the Grumpy Grandpa, brings about more good-natured trouble in this Netflix film. The Mexican Christmas movie is the beginning of Servando’s return after his role in ‘The Patriarch,’ which was released a lengthy 5 years ago. Servando always serves a crazy adventure, without a minute of down time and ‘Grumpy Christmas’ did just that. 

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What Is ‘Grumpy Christmas’ About? 

The story is about a family spending the Christmas season at their Aunt Alicia’s house on the beach. There is a conflict of power as the patriarchal power now comes face to face with Alicia’s matriarchal power in a comical and slightly childish battle of will. 

The Grumpy Grandpa tries to remain in control and thus Christmas becomes wahat he wants it to be birthing tons of chaos for the hectic family that is dealing with its own problems aongside this all. The many stories and conflicts offer you a huge heaping of drama. 

Does Grumpy Christmas Deliver Holiday Excellence?

While forced and predictable at times, the movie is all in good fun and highly entertaining. The main plot of the story is not strong enough to sustain a good movie. The best part is the realism when it comes to dealing with a big family – the conflciting opinions, ideas and good-natured arguments. Alicia’s character especially is problematic, her reasons for hating Christmas and Santa are not valid enough and while she’s trying to be the stubborn one it comes off as rude and unwarranted. 

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New Take on Christmas: Sun Instead of Snow for the Servando Family

Rather than snow, elves and big-bellied Santas, ‘Grumpy Christmas’ is set in a summer beach town setting. There is sun, sunscreen, sea and shells turning Christmas upside down in an actually refreshing take. There was a good amount of humor, silly antics but also some jokes that did not hit their mark and came off sort of cruel and unnecessarily vindictive. 

One reason this happens is because of the language barrier of the film. As an originally non-English film, some of the jokes and quotes do not translate accurately and so, watching the movie for yourself and filling in the gaps will make the entire experience more enjoyable. If you want to avoid subtitles, there is also a dubbed English version but the authenticity and true value of the film can only be registered in its original language. 

The way it branches free of the original plan and narrative is also engaging and offers a new perspective on Christmas films. Characters may be cliche but it works in the context of this film and offers good laughs, a beachy holiday experience and generally good vibes. 

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Cast and Crew Make ‘Grumpy Christmas’ the Success It Is 

The dynamic duo – Pedro Gonzalez and Raul Martinez worked together to direct the film and bring cultural accuracy as well as Christmas comedy. The screenplay was written by Gonzalez and Eduardo Donjuan.

Hector Bonilla as the main character, the stubborn grandfather, is the star of the show however. He plays his role with the perfect amount of elderly obstinance and humor, especially when he turns around and redeems himself. Other notable cast members included Benny Ibarra (Fran), Jacqueline Bracamontes (Alma), Angelica Maria, Alex Rose Wiesel (Gala), Tina French (Gina), Eduardo Tanus (Memo), Natalia Subtil (Gio), Yulian Diaz (Joao), Tina Romero, Juan Pablo de Santiago and Renata Notni, who all match their characters to the tee. 

The producers also deserve credit for their hard work. This includes Vanessa Hernandez, Carlos A. Morales and Miguel Perez Castelazo

Strong Acting and Family Chemistry Are the Foundation of ‘Grumpy Christmas’

The acting is strong and is the foundation of the film, with characters who are easily relatable, deliver their lines right on time and add enough cheesy lines without it becoming a corny mess. Their chemistry also makes the entire family dynamic more believable and overall a fun, easy watch for you and your own family. The length of the film, only an hour and a half, also makes it easily consumable, with enough action and drama to make the time pass quickly and excitedly. There is also an 80s twist that fills watchers with a sense of nostalgia and charm. 

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‘Grumpy Christmas’ Preaches on the Importance of Family and Love During the Holidays

The film culminates with a grandpa who learns the error of his ways and resigns his grumpy demeanor. The family ends up reconciling, mixing their ideas to create a beautiful holiday dinner and celebration. Most importantly, the movie showed the importance of not the holiday season, but who you spend said season with. Family and being together in the midst of everything is the best part of Christmas, a message that is simple and dyet beautiful in its simplicity. 

The Mexican origins of the film also add a sense of diversity and change that is otherwise lacking from holiday movies. It is fresh, introduces new perspectives and customs and makes it one of the most chaotic and yet entertaining films you will ever watch this holiday season. 

Shows and movies that match this energy include ‘Meet the Fockers’ and ‘The Family Stone’ and even ‘Modern Family.’ You can therefore expect to laugh and have a blast while zooming through this short but sweet film. 

You can watch ‘Grumpy Christmas’ on Netflix today! 

By Mireille Karadanaian

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