Review by Monique Thompson
Walter (Danny Glover) is a retired automotive engineer who lost the love of his life one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his four grown children and the rest of the family to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter knows that if daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.
‘Almost Christmas’ just feels right! Written and directed by David E. Talbert under Will Packer Productions, it embodies everything that the holidays usually mean to most African American families: a mixture of personalities but at the end of the day, plenty of love to go around! This is typically the time where you see that cousin or aunt that you try to avoid all year long because getting along seems next to impossible. The Meyers family in Almost Christmas are no different. Sisters Rachel and Cheryl are just like water and oil, they can’t seem to get along with each other. Brother Christian is running for congressman and the baby of the bunch, Evan, is a rising college athlete hoping to go to the professionals. With their different personalities and the wives/husbands and children, dad Walter has his hands full over the five days leading up to Christmas so his sister-in-law Aunt May (Mo’Nique) is in tow to lend a helping hand.
It’s almost hard to believe 2009 (award-winning Precious) was the last time comedienne Mo’Nique has been in a major film released in theaters. It’s definitely a treat to see her back doing what she does best: to make people laugh! Casting her as Aunt May was genius. Aunt May has this boisterous personality and as no problem “telling it like it is” in the name of love. No doubt, this is a role that Mo’Nique is made for. This movie is gut-busting funny and Mo’Nique certainly is one of the reasons why.
Now, in terms of what goes on in with the family, yes, I’m sure you can guess some of the things that’ll happen: sibling rivalry, infidelity, workaholic, divorce, addiction, secrets, betrayal, let’s face it, typical family stuff that almost any Christmas movie about bringing a family together will consist of. For me though, that’s what makes films like this so relatable and hearty. If watching Almost Christmas doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, then I’m convinced you just might be the Grinch That Stole Christmas. Everything about this film is right and it’s totally hilarious! A definite must-see for all families this holiday season.
ALSO STARING: Omar Epps, J.B. Smoove, Nicole Ari Parker, Keri Hilson, and DC Young Fly
In theaters Friday, November 11th