Reviews: The Ref

Refreshing break from the saccharine usual

When I get tired of the feel good, family togetherness, happy ending, cheery child standard fare of Christmas, I break out this movie. While a bit dated after almost twenty years (half the issues of the movie would be solved by cell phones), the humor stands up well. Most of us can relate to the family dysfunction on some level. If nothing else, they will make you feel better about your own family.

A great script is helped by an excellent cast. Dennis Leary is every bit as foul-mouthed as you'd expect. Kevin Spacey is as solid as ever, and Judy Davis, though perhaps not as "big name" as the others, is impressively complex as Caroline. Glynis Johns as the grandmother is stunningly hateful. Even better, it stands up to multiple viewings. I've seen it probably seven or eight times, and it still makes me laugh.