Blu-Ray Review: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas’

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CHICAGO – Yes, comedy fans, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s here early with a raunchy, gleeful take on holiday traditions courtesy of Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Danny DeVito, and the twisted writers of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas”.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

Essentially, “A Very Sunny Christmas” is a pair of episodes (it runs about that length) crammed into a straight-to-DVD special and timed for the peak of the current TV season and the holiday one. The current season of FX’s hit show has been pretty hit and miss with some wildly inconsistent episodes in between a few series highlights (two words - kitten mittens). Not surprisingly, the Blu-Ray release of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas” is basically of the same caliber of the current season. In other words, if you’ve been disappointed in the show lately, this release isn’t going to change your mind, but if you’re still head over heels for “Sunny,” Christmas is coming early.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

Judging the episode/special itself is one thing, but before we get to that, you should be warned that this is one of the least exciting Blu-Ray releases of the year when it comes to the technical specs and the special features. They even introduce the special by saying that it’s not true HD and that shows in the murky, grainy picture that somehow looks worse than when the show is originally broadcast on FX. The special features - “Young Charlie & Young Mac” deleted scenes,” “Behind-the-Scenes Making of” featurette, and “Sunny Sing-A-Long” - feel like afterthoughts and run under fifteen minutes combined. That means that with the running time of the show, you’re paying $30 for less than an hour of footage, show and extras combined.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

What makes it even more ridiculous is that the special easily could have (and surely will eventually) been trimmed to air on FX. There are a few f-bombs and you see more of a naked Danny DeVito than I believe is allowed on television, but this is hardly the “Sunny gang uncensored” that fans may be expecting.

Looking past the non-existent HD transfer, weak special features, and overall sense that this shouldn’t have been a stand-alone Blu-Ray release, the episodes/special are actually pretty funny.

For years, Frank (DeVito) has been using the holiday season to prank Dennis (Howerton) and Dee (Olson). He finds out what they really want for Christmas and just buys it for himself. Of course, Dennis and Dee decide to teach Frank a lesson with a variation on A Christmas Carol that goes hilariously awry.

Meanwhile, Mac and Charlie flashback to holidays past and dig up a few ghosts - like the fact that Mac’s dad clearly stole their Christmas presents or that Charlie’s mom was a whore - that probably should have stayed buried. It all culminates in a brutal attack on a mall Santa Claus and assault by snow machine.

Delightfully misanthropic and totally in line with what fans of the show should expect, it would be easy to praise “A Very Sunny Christmas” if it were a TV special or even a $10 DVD. On the other hand, judged as a $30 Blu-Ray, it kind of feels like an opportunity for the gang to cash in. Charlie, Mac, and Dennis are always looking for a quick money-making scheme, so perhaps this conflicting release is only appropriate.

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas’ is released by Fox Home Video and stars Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito. The show was created by McElhenney. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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