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Movies

'This Christmas'

Idris Elba as Quentin Whitfield in 'This Christmas' Suzanne Tenner/Screen Gems hide caption

toggle caption Suzanne Tenner/Screen Gems

Idris Elba as Quentin Whitfield in 'This Christmas'

Suzanne Tenner/Screen Gems
  • Director: Preston A. Whitmore II
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

A sprawling, contentious African-American clan gets together for the holidays at mom's house — and all but unravels on the way to discovering that the true meaning of Christmas is family.

Delroy Lindo and Loretta Devine head a cast that plunges headlong into everything from catfights to line dances (including one of the latter that goes on waaay too long just before the credits).

Mekhi Phifer hops out of his producer's chair to don a Santa suit and play a fireman with an entirely understandable crush on Sharon Leal.

And pop music's Chris Brown belts "Try a Little Tenderness," along with the title song — a hip new holiday ditty — to the rafters and beyond. The complications are often hokey, the emotions generally overstated and the action sometimes slapsticky, but there's heart at the film's heart. And in a holiday picture, that's what counts.

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