This week's new movies had messages that Christian critics could applaud—Christmas doesn't come from a store, humans shouldn't play God, and honesty is necessary for intimacy—but in each case reviewers felt the movies didn't do much to back up the claims.

What's HotDr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas is already a certified hit, posting the highest opening ever for a non-sequel, with $55 million. However, the movie's huge merchandising blitz that helped propel such a debut seemed to strike reviewers as contrary to the book's moral that Christmas doesn't come from a store. "For some reason, this basic philosophy appears to be a bit disingenuous," says Michael Elliott of Crosswalk.com, "coming as it does from a multi-million dollar production which has spared little expense in the telling of what used to be a sweet and simple story." Critics also cringed at the fleshing out of the story in order to reach feature length, including flashback scenes and a tidy motivation for the Grinch to steal Christmas from the joyful Whos. "Why the Grinch is so grumpy?" asks Jeffrey Overstreet of Looking Closer. "Unrequited love, and people laughed at his ugliness. Yep. It's as boring, as unimaginative, and as plain as an After-School Special." The Movie Reporter, Phil Boatwright, complains that the originally sweet and loving Whos are transformed into happily materialistic and morally loose people who even indulge in a key-party. "I suppose the outlandishness of seeing guileless Whoville dwellers participating in such a hedonistic sexual game may be humorous, but it is also a vulgar and cheap gag," Boatwright says. At Beliefnet, Jonathan V. Last finds it repulsive that little Cindy Lou Who is the one who eventually teaches both the Grinch ...

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