The Austin Chronicle

A Christmas Story

Rated PG, 98 min. Directed by Bob Clark. Starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, Tedde Moore.

REVIEWED By Alison Macor, Fri., Dec. 16, 1994

If you can't beat the usual pre-holiday hype, at least laugh at it. Watching A Christmas Story can help. For those who haven't seen this classic holiday tale, the film tells the story of Ralphie (Billingsley), a young boy who wants nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder 200-shot, range-model air rifle. The Red Ryder is a souped-up BB gun and Ralphie must convince Mom and Dad (Dillon and McGavin) that, if lucky enough to receive this "Holy Grail of Christmas presents," he won't shoot his eye out. "You'll shoot your eye out!" becomes the film's mantra that besieges Ralphie at every turn. Based on Jean Shepherd's novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, A Christmas Story celebrates being young and holding out for that special present that inspires an English class theme entitled "What I Want for Christmas." An ode to childhood in a more innocent time, the film's young actors supply moronic humor that transports viewers back to an earlier era when school children banded together and terrorized their teachers not with guns but with fake plastic teeth in their mouths. There are countless hilarious scenes in this film. Even if you didn't grow up in the Midwest, you'll still be able to appreciated the anticipation of the holidays and all of the tension and happiness that accompanies the most eagerly awaited and equally dreaded time of the year.

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