Friday, December 25, 2015

TV Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia — A Very Sunny Christmas (2010)

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia – A Very Sunny Christmas (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...successfully gets you into the mood for the holidays."

Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) set out to teach Frank (Danny DeVito) a lesson for his "fakeout" gifts. Meanwhile, Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) attempt to capture the spirit of Christmas by revisiting their childhoods...

A Very Sunny Christmas is a television Christmas special following the cynical crew during the holidays. This special 44 or so minute episode follows the traditional Always Sunny formula – the characters split up for separate causes, then met up towards the end. Fortunately, it's a formula that always works. In this case, Dennis and Dee are bent on teaching Frank a lesson for his usual holiday torment; by that, I mean, Frank loves to purchase the gifts Dennis and Dee want for himself, then shove them in their faces. On the other front, Mac and Charlie revisit their childhood and find they've been lied to by their parents. (It turns out, visiting someone's home and opening their presents isn't a tradition, but it's actually stealing.) It all leads to a surprisingly tender ending.

I usually don't review TV specials or singular episodes, but I love this Christmas special – I try to watch it every year with Rare Exports. It takes your favorite crew of narcissist and places them in a holiday setting. There are plenty of laugh out loud gags, like a grown man being sewn into a couch or a slight overreaction during a confrontation with a mall Santa. Oh, and I could never forget the whole "fakeout" Christmas presents – it's something I hope to do someday. It does start a bit slow and you can easily recognize the convenient storytelling, but it's otherwise extremely entertaining and festive. It successfully gets you into the mood for the holidays.

The cast is splendid, as usual. I love Danny DeVito's performance in this episode and Charlie Day shines as the maniac at the mall. Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Kaitlin Olson offer great performances, as well. The gory claymation tune towards the end was well-executed, too. Otherwise, it's a fairly standard television special. It looks and feels like any other episode in the series – which is a good thing, of course. The writing is funny and the direction is fine. On the technical side, it's all fine and dandy.

Overall, A Very Sunny Christmas is wonderful. It's classic Always Sunny, filled with black humor and laugh-out-loud gags. There are a few minor flaws here and there, but it's always entertaining. If you love or simply enjoy a bit of Always Sunny, then you'll enjoy this holiday special.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, some nudity.

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