Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas has critics divided like the town of Whoville: Grinch and misanthropes on one side and the Whos on the other.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times definitely sides with the Grinch, calling the movie a "shrill, overstuffed, spiritless cinematic contraption."
Some critics are trying their hand at mimicking Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), writing entire reviews in his style. Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post, for example:
"Who was the wretch, the jerk and the kvetch,
who stole Doc Seuss's fabulous text?
You know: about the guy who swiped Christmas
and learned no man or green Grinch is an isthmus?
This thief in the Bijou,
what made him do that?
Is he desperate or evil or just a big rat?
Was it envy that drove him or hubris or greed?
Whatever, the result seems a bad deed."
Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal notes that, in the movie, audiences are asked to feel sorry for the Grinch because of his unhappy childhood. "I felt much sorrier for the director, Ron Howard, and for an army of artists and technicians who struggled to do the inadvisable, if not the impossible. Their task was to turn a slender, magically simple fable - and a beloved one - into mythic fantasy on an epic scale." Morgenstern suggests that the result is downright tedious.
Gary Thompson in the Philadelphia Daily News goes further: "Whoville doesn't feel wondrous, like Munchkinland. It feels tinny, like The Flintstones, and bloated, like the latter Batman movies."
But Jami Bernard in the New York Daily News was clearly enchanted with the film, calling it "a deliriously inventive live-action version of the beloved Dr. Seuss story."
Philip Wuntch in the Dallas Morning News finds little to fault about it, either and gives special praise to director Howard, whose direction, he says, "is conscientious and loving, without losing sight of the story's strong entertainment value. Nobody wants to leave Grinch feeling grouchy. And probably nobody will."
And Jay Carr in the Boston Globe predicts that the film will become a seasonal classic, writing: "It invites you to just sit back and enjoy, and it doesn't disappoint. With Carrey hitting a career peak, this Grinch doesn't steal Christmas; it restores the season by helping energize us enough to make it through the whole thing."