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GRINCH, THE: CD

"With the exception of former US president Gerald "watch me trip over my own shadow" Ford, who was quite obviously in a league of his own, Jim Carrey should by now be regarded as joining the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the finest physical comedians of the century. (A century, which all cinephile sophisticates appreciate, no doubt, is drawing to a close as I write this [Dec. 2000] – not twelve months ago.)

So, it’s fascinating to hear Carrey "Grinch-it-up" on CD with only our imaginations to visualise him as mean, green and obscene(ly) hilarious. He hams with style on the opening track, Grinch 2000, alongside star rapper Busta Rhymes but is only warming up to a no-holds-barred chameleon mix of Frank ‘n’ Furter camp, base snarling and mock pomposity on the wonderful You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

His dialogue excerpts are winners too, and hardly disgraced by the fact that they are upstaged by narrator Sir Anthony Hopkins who can lend a dignity like no other to "and he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore." This CD is such a good natured hotch potch of kids tunes, theatrical romps, polished pop and orchestral score that for once the randomly inserted dialogue doesn’t seem out of place in a compilation.

The big pop push comes via a big ballad sung by Faith Hill and penned by James Horner (it borrows the main motif of his score), Mariah Carey and Will Jennings. Carey’s contribution is curious as I’m not aware of a recording of this number herself.

But the bigger mystery is why they had to call in Will Jennings, who I assume is responsible for the lyrics. Now it’s true that Mariah Carey is known more for her vocal dexterity more than her dexterous verse and Horner more for melodic lyricism than melodious lyrics, but bringing in WJ really is scraping beneath the bottom of the Christmas tree. As usual he contributes some standard stanzas of treacle, with the rhyming mush of "The Joy of Xmas/Stays here inside us" joining such past poetic perfection as ‘Near, far, wherever you are’ and ‘Laugh and cry, live and die’.

But Hill does well with the melody, and when Horner’s score follows from the next track, it’s pleasing to hear that the main theme motif doesn’t sound like it’s simply been contrived to transmute into a hit pop song (which didn’t work for him in Bicentennial Man). Even more pleasing is that unlike his Perfect Storm motif he uses it to solidify rather than carry the score.

In fact, the entertaining capriciousness of his orchestration and varying dynamics dovetails surprisingly well with the colourful songs to make this CD a delightful hamper of musical treats for the festive season."
Brad Green

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TITLE: The Grinch

FEATURED ARTISTS: Jim Carrey, Busta Rhymes, Barenaked Ladies, Little Isidor and the Inquisitors, Ben Folds, Smash Mouth, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Eels, ‘N Sync, Faith Hill, Taylor Momsen

COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR (score): James Horner

ORCHESTRATIONS: Randy Kerver, J.A.C. Redford

PRODUCER: James Horner, Simon Rhodes

TRACKS: 22







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