Ernest Saves Christmas is a 1988 Christmas comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim Varney. This is the first film to feature Gailard Sartain’s character, Chuck along with Bill Byrge as his brother, Bobby. They made their first appearance in the television series Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! which was in production at the same time as this film. It is the third film to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell, and chronicles Ernest’s attempt to find a replacement for an aging Santa Claus. Unlike the other Ernest movies, Ernest Saves Christmas is the only one that does not feature a villain.
You know how Jingle All The Way is one of those so bad it’s good Christmas movies, a movie so stupid but you can’t help but enjoy it? Well, Ernest Saves Christmas is definitely one of those movies.
For the most part, this is essentially the white equivalent of the Madea movies, not particularly bad movies but not particularly good movies, kind of in the middle but some of them are actually kind of fun to watch and this is definitely one of those movies.
Jim Varney as Ernest is a character who should not work because of who he is, obnoxious and occasionally annoying, but I’ll be damned if Varney doesn’t make it work.
On top of that, this movie probably has one of the definitive film Santa Clauses ever put to the screen with Douglas Seale, better known as the Sultan from Aladdin, playing one of the greatest Santa Clauses ever on screen, when you see him in this movie, you automatically see Santa Claus, he just gives this great charming performance and it’s a shame nobody ever talks about this movie as having one of the great Santa Clauses ever put to the screen.
Other than that, everything else about is pretty generic and standard, the story is a little too cliché, some of the jokes really don’t work, and Jim Varney’s comedic setpieces are really hit and miss, sometimes they hit bulls eyes but other times, they fall flat.
Overall, Ernest Saves Christmas is a perfectly salvageable holiday movie, it’s got its’ moments, two very solid leading performances and its’ fun factor is definitely here. Check your brain at the door and enjoy this fun little Christmas film.
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