MOOD: distracted

EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: medium to low

Honest Reviews are all about transparency, so I’ll start by admitting I was a bit distracted when I watched The Grinch.

My kids came with me, so I wanted them to have a good time. And the screening was on election night, so there was a lot going on in the world.

My expectations were medium-to-low, because I’m a BIG fan of the 1966 animated movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I’m a little suspicious of any new version and admit to having that bias in the back of my mind.

But there’s no question – the animation in The Grinch is far more colorful, sparkly, and whimsical than the original. It’s truly gorgeous.

And good luck not falling in love with Max the dog. He’s a tragically loyal and emotive pet who can make you laugh with just a look.

The Grinch is like a zhushed-up version of the Dr. Seuss creation - more vibrant and furry, but ultimately less scary.

And that may be why the movie feels a little less interesting.

The Grinch is given a very specific backstory to explain his grinchiness, and it makes him sympathetic. To that end, it never truly feels like his heart is two sizes too small – he has every reason to loathe Christmas! And that makes his ultimate epiphany less impactful.

The movie is only an hour and a half long, and I was glad.

But the truth is, The Grinch wasn't made for me. It's for kids! And young children will love it.

Illumination - the studio behind The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, and Despicable Me – followed the same playbook for The Grinch.

The humor is simple and straightforward. The kindness is palpable. Cindy Lou Who is almost indistinguishable from the sisters in Despicable Me.

It's a silly, cute, captivating movie that will make little kids cheer. (Seriously, some little kids cheered at my screening.)

My slightly-older kids were split on the movie - my 10 year old liked it, while my 12 year old said it was "just okay."

My honest review of The Grinch? It felt like an undecorated Christmas tree - there's the promise of magic, but it never totally delivers.

Nevertheless, it's sure to be a fun holiday movie experience for families with littles.

WHAT IS “HONEST REVIEW”?

I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.

I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.

Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a glass wine when I should have had a glass of water.

All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.

So in an effort to write an Honest Review, I’ll always list the external factors that might affect my enjoyment of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.

What do you think of Honest Review or The Grinch? Let me know at @kimholcomb.