Ernest Saves Christmas

1988

Ernest Saves Christmas

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

36%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 14

42%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,196
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Movie Info

Slow-witted and annoying as all get out, commercial spokesperson Ernest (Jim Varney) is a cab driver in Miami and finds himself squiring a burned out Santa Claus around town helping his search for a replacement so he can finally retire.

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Cast

Jim Varney
as Ernest P. Worell
Douglas Seale
as Santa Claus
Oliver Clark
as Joe Curruthers
Noelle Parker
as Harmony Star
Bill Byrge
as Bobby (Storage Agent
Billie Bird
as Mary Morrissey
Robert Lesser
as Martin Brock
George Kaplan
as Mr. Dills
Angie Harper
as Mrs. Smith
Beecher Martin
as Agent Skippy
Jackie Welch
as Animal Officer
Daniel Butler
as Animal Officer
Carmen J. Alexander
as Police Officer
Tom Nowicki
as Crew Member
Michael O. Smith
as Studio Guard
Paul Darby
as Ticket Agent
Douglas Brush
as Commander
Ray Russell
as Stage Hand
Cindi Vicino
as Make-up Artist
Bob Barnes
as Controller #1
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Critic Reviews for Ernest Saves Christmas

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for Ernest Saves Christmas

  • Dec 22, 2015
    I remember watching most, if not all, of the Ernest films as a child. It wasn't as much a formative part of my childhood as, say, the Naked Gun trilogy was, but it's not like I'm completely unfamiliar with this franchise. This, to me, reminds me of a low-brow version of the Pink Panther films from the 60s and 70s with Peter Sellers, I don't count Trail of the Pink Panther, released in 82, because Peter Sellers' scenes were comprised of deleted scenes from other films in the franchise. I'm not trying to suggest that Jim Varney and Peter Sellers are even in the same stratosphere as far as comedic performances went, Peter blew Jim out of the water on almost every level, but it's similar in that Jim Varney, essentially, played the same character for decades and nothing, if anything, rarely changed about any of the films. Maybe the locations and some of the story elements, but it all boiled down to Ernest being a child-like fool getting into increasingly absurd hi-jinks. There's a familiarity from one Ernest film to the next, much like in the Pink Panther. The one difference being that, to me, every Pink Panther film I saw was really enjoyable. This movie, eh, didn't really do much for me in terms of performance or comedy. Here's the thing about Jim Varney, when he ventured outside the Ernest character and actually did some more serious stuff, the guy wasn't bad at all. It's not that Ernest himself is a terrible character, there's a certain innocence about him that could've been endearing, but there's parts where the guy is just insufferable. Varney did a decent job at portraying the character, but I wouldn't say that he was the most gifted comedic actor on earth. Yes, he disguised himself as different people, and he did an adequate job as these different characters, but I wouldn't say that he made me laugh. And maybe it's not even his fault, but I'm pretty sure that Varney himself had a lot of input in shaping this character, if not a great percentage of it. So part of it has to be blamed on him, the rest of the story, however, can and probably should be blamed on someone else. The story is every bland and dull Christmas movie you've ever seen, except with the Ernest touch. And Ernest is either a love him or hate him type of character, there's no real in-between. Ernest films have never been known for their technical prowess, so it's even more of a step down from that end. The casting for this isn't particularly inspired. I'm not saying the cast doesn't try hard, but I don't think they do a good job at editing together performances for anyone to stand out. There's also a lot of filler, like everything with the storage agents and the reindeer. It doesn't really serve any real purpose but to pad the running time, which isn't that long to begin with. There's nothing wrong with releasing a movie that's shorter than normal, at least you're keeping the pacing in mind. These segments with the reindeer really just kill the pacing and they're not particularly funny save for maybe one or two chuckles. While this is a harmless movie in and of itself, I can't really imagine that many kids will actually enjoy this. It's weird, this film clearly isn't geared towards an adult audience, but it's not exactly geared towards kids either. It's stuck in limbo, because while it is a harmless family movie, that doesn't necessarily make it a good one either. This is kind of a disaster in a lot of levels. You can't expect high-brow humor with this kind of character, but there's no reason it couldn't have been, at least, a reasonably entertaining film. It fails at getting you in a Christmas-y mood, if that's what you're looking for, and that's really the ultimate sin for one of these types of films. I don't wanna say it fails at everything, but it's a bad film on many levels. Again, I never loved Ernest, even as a kid, but it goes to show you that your memory can play tricks on you. Anyone who may have loved this film in their youth shouldn't come back to it in their adulthood. I think they will be sorely disappointed. Isn't it sad that this is among the 'better' reviewed films in the Ernest franchise. Think about that.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2011
    I liked this better then Ernest goes to camp, the jokes are better and the story is for the whole family. Ernest is really funny and not as obnoxious as the first film, which is for the best. Not going to win oscars but definitely ond you'll remember fondly.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2011
    When Christmas is in danger there's only one man to turn to...Ernest P. Worrell. KnoWhutImean? Ernest Saves Christmas is a fun family film that's wildly entertaining and tremendously fun. Jim Varney delivers both a ton of laughs and holiday cheer as the lovable tramp Ernest P. Worrell. There's a fun innocence about this film that makes it all the more charming and enduring, especially for a Christmas film. Without a doubt, this is the best of the Ernest series. KnoWhutImean, Vern?
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2011
    A perfect Christmas movie that I can watch any day of the year. This is the second 'Ernest' film that I just love. Jim Varney was such a humble, great actor. I've watched all of Jim Varney's movies, Ernest and non-Ernest, but I find myself always going back to Ernest. Jim was destined to be this character and I think 'Ernest' was his true calling. In this, Ernest is a taxi driver, though not a very good driver while singing, "O Christmas Tree" over and over because that's the only words he knew. It's hilarious to hear him sing it. He eventually picks up 'Santa Claus' at the airport, not knowing that that's who he really was. Along the way, Ernest sees a Christmas tree fall off a truck and in true Ernest fashion, he stops the taxi in the middle of the interstate and backs up to save the tree, thus causing car accidents. One of the things I loved was reading the bumper sticker in the glove compartment when Ernest was getting some sunglasses for Santa. "Keep Christ in Christmas". What a good message. During the film, Varney pulls out 'Auntie Nelda', 'Astor Clement' and 'Uncle Lloyd' as the snake guy. He was so funny. I crack up everytime I see the snake guy talk to the security guard. "One minute yer a strappin', healthy man and then, s-s-s-s-s, yer dead meat." I love the pancake scene as it reminds me of one of his commercials, "Pancakes on parade." Ernest helps a young girl see the error of her ways. Lying will get you no where fast. This is one of the rare times that 'Vern' was in an Ernest movie and it was a smart move. Ernest always had the best intentions and wore his heart on his sleeve and even though he messed up sometimes, he would end up saving the day. Hooray for the underdog!! I've always had a soft spot for Ernest and felt quite maternal over him though in reality he was 27 years my senior. Ernest constantly left me in stitches with this movie as with all Ernest movies. This is a Christmas classic and it should be played on t.v. every Christmas. I want to pass my 'Jim Varney' collection to my family and hope they find the joy and strong moral backbone of his movies as I have done. You just don't find many movies today that can make you laugh without the use of sexual comments or foul language. Varney was a true genius. R.I.P.
    Stacy A Super Reviewer

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