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In a beautiful written piece for the New York Times, Trevor Noah paints a picture of his childhood with his mother

This Christmas

2008-04-09 15:59
What it's about:

It's Christmas time at the Whitfield family house and this year all of Ma'Dere (Loretta Devine)'s children – grown and juvenile – have come home. But with her kids come their secrets and their skeletons. If the Whitfield family want to make it through this Christmas as a family, they're each going to need to learn how to be brave, forgiving and honest with each other and themselves.

What we thought of it:

Take your mind off your own family problems by focusing on the domestic hysterics of director Preston Whitmore's Whitfield family. But if you're a Christmas cynic, stay away.

The feel-good story is peppered with family friction any typical, normal, dysfunctional family can relate to: sibling rivalry between the stay-at-home mom and working-girl sister, the anxious son sacrificing his dreams to please his overbearing mother; the prodigal son fighting to remain loyal to his biological father. The list is just short of endless.

Whitmore has assembled a talented group of performers who display believable family chemistry, which is difficult to achieve with a large cast. This can partly be attributed to the fact that many of the actors, such as Columbus Short, Laz Alonso and Chris Brown, and Loretta Devine, Sharon Leal and Keith Robinson, have worked together on previous projects.

If you're looking for a festive R'nB Christmas album, buy the soundtrack – it features familiar carols and sexy ballads. And of course Chris Brown lends his vocals to a couple of the tracks, covering the Donny Hathaway classic "This Christmas". Let's just hope this cutey doesn't turn into Mandy Moore and insist on singing in all future movie projects.

This Christmas is nothing you haven't already seen in a Perry Tyler film. It's a sweet family holiday movie that'll please the saints and bore the Scrooges.

- Megan Kakora
Loretta Devine, Idris Elba and Chris Brown heat up Christmas at the Whitfields in a fairly enjoyable Christmas family movie that's everything you've seen before.

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