Directed By Ron Howard, starring Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen.

It's Christmas in Whoville, a small town 'utopia' where strange people with outsize noses give gifts as if 25 December is about to be outlawed. In Whoville everyone is comfortable, everyone is happy and everyone loves Christmas - well nearly everyone. The exception is The Grinch, a not so jolly green giant with bad breath and worse attitude who lives alone in a mountain top dump outside Whoville and looks down on all below. He hates Christmas, so much so that he will try anything to stop it, whether it's destroying mail in the sorting office or scaring shoppers in the streets. Enter Cindy Lou-Who (Momsen, a child actor you can actually like), the sussed six-year-old who questions the town's obsession with over-the-top presents and investigates just why the Grinch is so grumpy. An unlikely friendship forms between the two; the Grinch learns to live a little and Cindy Lou realises that the hairy hermit may have a point to his pout.

Director Ron Howard is best know for such 'American Way' films as Backdraft, Apollo 13 and Ransom, but here he turns his baseball cap backwards, lightens up and crafts a charming version of the Doctor Seuss' festive favourite. While the Grinch has its fair share of belly laughs (most notably during the green one's soliloquies of self loathing) Howard peppers the film with comments on consumerism and the environment, giving youngsters food for thought in between the popcorn and corporate soft drinks. Carrey is superb, swamped in makeup and sounding like a cross between Hitchcock and The Honey Monster, you forget you're actually watching him and wonder instead if some Hollywood agent really has a seasonal saboteur on their books.

Harry Guerin