Parents' Guide to

A Christmas Story Live!

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Musical based on classic film is an OK update, but too long.

Movie NR 2017 180 minutes
A Christmas Story Live! Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 10+

My Story on the Story

What's great: The person who plays Ralphis is really great, even better than the original What's not so good: some segments were not necessary (i.e. the teacher jazz club number) Would I see it live?: Yes, but only if I got to see it for free. Would I show it to a 10-year-old?: Yes, Would I show it to a 65-year-old? Only if they aren't for change to the original story and like musicals. Recommendation: See it if you like musicals live on TV or if you like the story and don't mind a slight twist. Only rated two stars vs. three because I had higher expectations.
age 9+

Stayed faithful and true to the original.

I do not think that 3 hours was too long at all for this movie. If the commercials get taken out it only lasts 2 1/2 hours if that long. Had this been a new movie, taking place in modern times, it's quite possible that Ralphie would not have gotten the gun. But they wanted to stay true to the original. That it did and did well. The scene with the gun was reenacted to perfection. Everything else about the movie was true to the original. While you could've argued for the presence of working women, it was only right that most women in this movie were homemakers, as that's the way it was for most women in the 1940s in real life. Matthew Broderick does a great job narrating and explaining the story. The increase in cultural diversity was a plus too, as there was more of it in real life in decades past than our books, movies or tv shows would've had us believe. While this doesn't quite compare to the original, it's up there. When you show this to your children ask which version they like better and why.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

At times this musical is lots of fun, it stars people you love, and it updates some of the cringier things from the original -- on the other hand, three hours is too long for anything. Even those who at first enjoy the jazzy, peppy numbers about Christmas and Christmas presents will be longing to shoot their own eyes out (sorry, show, you can't set us up like that) after two solid hours of five lines of dialogue followed by a nice long belter of a song. Not that there aren't goodies. As Old Man Parker, Chris Diamantopoulos dances away with any scene in which he's called upon to sing or move, and there's a particularly neat bit of stage business during his "Major Award" number in which he magically changes from vintage leisure dadwear to a tailored tux without a camera cutaway. National treasure Jane Krakowski slays, as always, during her scenes. And Matthew Broderick gets the show's best lines, cribbed from the book that inspired the 1983 movie, humorist Jean Shepherd's semi-fictional and brilliant In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.

The way that A Christmas Story Live! subverted the 1983 movie's Chinese restaurant was also masterful, with Old Man Parker quipping "That was not what I was expecting!" after a perfectly in-tune carol from a chorus of Asian waiters. Ken Jeong's restaurant owner replies, "What were you expecting?" Also: Ana Gasteyer can sing! But to be honest, many modern parents were also hoping the Parkers might not get Ralpie the gun, and they do, and he does immediately hurt himself with it, just like he does in the movie. If you love the movie, try this version on for tuneful holiday cheer but be warned: Three hours!

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