I can sympathize with Shrek (Mike Meyers) who, during his family’s first Christmas, chases out his friends who have invited themselves over and turned his house into a festive discotheque. The poor ogre just wants some alone time, well, plus the wife and kids. He certainly doesn’t welcome Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and company’s intrusion, but after a little reflection, he learns how to really celebrate a perfect Christmas.
I tend to take Shrek’s solitary approach to the holidays; I want less stress, not more. But I’m touched by the earnestness hidden behind his rough demeanor. Shrek’s a sedentary ogre who rebels against change, yet for Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and his children, he is willing to step far outside of himself, even if that means decking the halls and making the day merry and bright, something he has no idea how to do since ogres don’t do celebrations.
When he sees how happy his wife is about a white Christmas, he cancels his non-plans and rushes off to find some holiday help. It comes in the form of a book, Christmas for Village Idiots, which gives step-by-step cooking and decorating instructions. Together with Fiona and the kids, they check almost everything off their list. All that’s left is to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
And that’s when Donkey rushes in with the usual suspects. Puss in Boots, Pinocchio, the Three Pigs, the Gingerbread Man, and the Blind Mice all arrive to give Shrek the family Christmas he wants. There’s dancing and singing, more food and mistletoe, and some wildly funny storytelling, in the usual Shrek tradition. The Gingerbread Man (Conrad Vernon) again shocks with his snark, but Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) wins for being equally cavalier and cuddly.
There’s something very poignant in Shrek’s desperation to make the holidays perfect for his new family. Though the filmmakers may want to push a message about who really counts as family, I think the more moving one is about Shrek’s willingness to open his heart – to his wife, his children, his friends, even to the holidays – just when instinct tells him to close it up.
“Now, the sight of the house would make any ogre droop, for it was sickeningly sweet as unicorn poop.”
Prod: Gina Shay, Teresa Cheng, Aron Warner
Dir: Gary Trousdale
Writer: Gary Trousdale, Sean Bishop, Theresa Pettengill, Bill Riling
Cast: Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Conrad Vernon, Cody Cameron, Aron Warner, Christopher Knights, Marissa Jaret Winokur
Time: 28 min
Country: United States