It’s a little hard to imagine a sequel to A Christmas Story this long after the 1983 film’s original release. But A Christmas Story wasn’t an immediate success in its day, and it’s only been over the passage of time that the film has acquired the patina of a holiday classic. Bearing that in mind is likely what the filmmakers of A Christmas Story 2 would suggest before comparing the current release to its predecessor.
There was a sequel prior to this film — 1994’s It Runs in the Family (later retitled My Summer Story), starring Charles Grodin and, like A Christmas Story, based on the writings of Jean Shepherd. While Shepherd has long since departed this world, the Brian Levant-directed (Beethoven, Jingle All the Way) A Christmas Story 2 carries with it the tag of “The Official Sequel,” and sets the action a few years after Ralphie’s affliction with BB gun mania. Braedon Lemasters (Men of a Certain Age) takes on the role of the now-teenage Ralphie, whose current holiday obsession is a bit more complex — and no less dangerous: a 1938 Hupmobile Skyline convertible.
It wouldn’t have been possible — nor even advisible — to round up the original cast for this film, especially since Darren McGavin also passed on in 2006. In this film, Randy, Ralphie’s younger brother, is played by relative newcomer Valin Shinyei, his mother by Stacey Travis (Easy A) and The Old Man, the cranky old cuss, is veteran character actor Daniel Stern (Whip It). Stern’s penchant for playing curmudgeonly types — remember his turn as record nut Shrevie in 1993’s Diner? — comes in handy in this case, as it could only be such an actor that could attempt to fill McGavin’s shoes.
Whether or not A Christmas Story 2 will pass into lore the way the 1983 original has, the film offers fans young and old the opportunity to continue the tale and see how some holiday hopes never leave us, no matter how old we may be.
A Christmas Story 2 is available on Video On Demand starting Nov. 20. Check your cable system for availability.
Photo: © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.