My Dad is Scrooge

Few things make you feel dumber or older than getting lost while watching a kids’ movie. I’m ashamed to confess that this happened to me while watching My Dad is Scrooge. How does this even happen with a movie based entirely on A Christmas Carol, which we all know by heart? Annoying people and talking animals, that’s how.

Genre(s): Family, Drama

Director: Justin G. Dyck

Actors: Brian Cook, Keith Cooper, Eva Grieg, Jon Heder

Year: 2014

MPAA Rating: NR

Country: USA

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Oliver and June are two sweet kids eagerly anticipating the Christmas season. Their mom is diligently working on a Christmas pageant, but their father, EB, has lost the Christmas spirit. He is utterly unmoved by the holiday, and instead sees it as an interruption in his relentless work schedule. The family is used to him being preoccupied with work, but don’t realize he’s actually a terrible person until he serves a foreclosure notice to the residents of Woodsley Farm. Doing it so close to the holidays is bad enough, but bringing along the whole family under the guise of, “Hey kids! Let’s visit a farm!” is especially indecent.

The kids’ sense of disappointment is compounded by confusion when they are visited by the animals of Woodsley Farm. There they are, running around inside the house and suddenly talking. Say what?! “How did the animals get in?” I asked, suddenly losing the plot. Up to that point, the movie had been sort of a generic, bumbling foray into the world of Scrooginess, but this took things to a whole new level.

If you’re an adult watching the movie with children, this is also probably the point where your tolerance for the movie wanes. It’s a lot like standing in a room full of kids and animals, with everybody talking and running around while you think, “Where do I look? Who cares? This isn’t about me.” The movie progresses somewhat noisily, with the animals and the children teaching EB the true meaning of Christmas.

Though well-intended, My Dad is Scrooge paints cartoonish characters that are hard to relate to as real people. Minus that emotional connection, pretty much anything that happens in the story remains uninteresting. Kids may enjoy the talking animals and slapstick action, but the movie is unlikely to resonate with viewers of all ages. 

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