‘A Very Funny Christmas’ is a collection of two short films (each run at about an hour) written by David Walliams of ‘Little Britain’ fame. The two films (Mister Stink and Gangsta Granny) are not straight up Christmas movies as the title of the release would suggest, but there are certainly some tie-ins with the holiday.
‘Mister Stink’ is the story of Chloe (Nell Tiger Free), a little girl whose parents are more interested in their own respective lives than hers. One fateful day Chloe meets a poor tramp, Mister Stink (Hugh Bonneville), and his dog The Duchess, and invites them to live in her family’s garden shed. Mister Stink becomes a media sensation when he (and Chloe’s family) find themselves pulled into a political debate over homelessness.
‘Gangsta Granny’ is the story of Ben (Reece Buttery) and his boring cabbage-obsessed granny (Julia McKenzie). Ben hates spending time with his granny at her lackluster old house doing nothing but puzzles and going to sleep early. One day while searching for some sweets Ben stumbles onto a secret that completely changes how he views his boring old granny. She is actually a world-famous jewel thief. Mesmerized by his discovery Ben decides he wants to help her carry out one last job.
Both films in the collection have thinly veiled morals to their stories. ‘Mister Stink’ is clearly about treating people equally and family unity, whereas ‘Gangsta Granny’ is about respecting the elderly and giving them the time of day. These are good lessons for kid’s films like these to carry, but in some cases they can be a bit preachy.
Neither film is overwhelmingly funny, though both do have their moments. These are definitely children’s movies first. Adults will find them tolerable, but they will also probably be thrilled that they only last an hour respectively.
It is worth saying that in terms of both story and production quality these made for TV movies are a thousand times better than around 99% of similar fare pushed out in the United States. There is just a layer of quality in these films that makes them more watchable even if some parts are fairly lackluster. ‘A Funny Christmas’ offers a couple of decent movies for kids each with a good lesson and original, though sometimes lifeless, story.