TV Review: 'Shrek' holiday special offers clever amusement
It's Christmas Eve, and everyone except Shrek is in the holiday spirit in "Shrek the Halls," premiering tonight on ABC.
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ABC's new half-hour holiday special "Shrek the Halls" (8 tonight, WTAE) won't become an animated classic along the lines of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which follows at 8:30. The "Shrek" films are a little too of-the-moment in pop culture to be timeless.
But for families seeking a new Christmas special, particularly if they're already fans of "Shrek" on the big screen, "Shrek the Halls" is a treat, particularly because it features the primary voice cast from the movies: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.
This holiday story finds Shrek (Myers) ambivalent about Christmas, which ogres do not celebrate. Wife Fiona (Diaz) is eager for the festivities to begin, although not as eager as Donkey (Murphy), who begins the countdown months in advance.
Donkey invites all their friends over to Shrek's swamp home, which leads to some of the sight gags viewers expect from the "Shrek" movies: The gingerbread man hits on a Christmas cookie shaped like an angel; the three blind mice try to hang a stocking by nailing it to Pinocchio's leg.
Written by Gary Trousdale, Sean Bishop, Theresa Cullen and Bill Riling, "Shrek the Halls" also features a few traditional Christmas stories told in new ways. Donkey imagines a Santa Claus made from waffles, the gingerbread man sees Santa as an evil marauder (amusing for adults, kids may get scared), and Puss (Banderas) narrates a tale that has the funniest denouement.
Along the way, Ebenezer Shrek lets his ogre tendencies get the best of him and he ends up offering several laughable apologies, including, "I'm sorry you took being kicked out of my home the wrong way." (Does it make me an ogre that I once issued a similarly awful apology and have yet to live it down?)
Never mind that the impetus for "Shrek the Halls" may be to spur sales of "Shrek the Third" on DVD. Better to just enjoy this special for its moments of simple, clever amusement.
First Published November 28, 2007 12:00 am