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This Christmas


Stars: Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Idris Elba, Loretta Devine, Chris Brown, Columbus Short, Lauren London, Mekhi Phifer, Sharon Leal, Laz Alonso, Jessica Stroup

Director: Preston A Whitmore II

A largely heartwarming tearjerker about a black American family, each with their own problems, reuniting for Christmas. Mama (Devine) has been living with longtime lover Joe (Lindo) ever since her husband left her. Senior daughter Lisa (King) is dominated by her philandering husband (Alonso), while younger daughters Kelli (Leal) and Mel (London) have their eyes on sex as a Christmas present.

Soldier Claude (Short) is 'home on leave' with a secret, elder brother Quentin (Elba) is on the run from gambling debts and youngest son Michael (Brown) has a secret of his own: a budding singing career that will probably lead to him leaving the nest.

It's a nice, good-hearted sort of film with just a few flaws. Is it really believable that Claude would take his service revolver to a disco, or pull it on two guys who mocked his relationship with a white girl (Stroup)? And the crises in the family are just one too many for credibility. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable seasonal movie (almost National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation without the laughs), albeit with a terrible protracted ending, in which what seems to be a family celebration turns out to be the entire cast taking a bow.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Sony (Screen Gems). Colour by deluxe.
119 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 26 Nov 2007