A family gathers for dinner in "Almost Christmas." (Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures via AP)

A family gathers for dinner in “Almost Christmas.” (Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures via AP)

“Almost Christmas”, starring Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, and Kimberly Elise, is a friendly reminder of what to expect over the holidays.  In the movie, the Myers family meets up for the first time after losing the matriarch of their family.  In the days leading up to Christmas, the family’s grief, love and hate creates a more complex family time.

For many families, the holidays are an opportunity to come together and break bread.  But, for African American families, including mine, these assemblies are much more than that.  These gatherings are an imbalanced mixture of laughter, drama, song, dance, and soul food. We all have that one family member that can’t cook.  The inappropriate uncle. The crazy aunt. The sibling rivalry. The buried secrets.

“Almost Christmas” reminds us of all of the classic memorable moments we’ve already shared and prepares us for the ones to come.

The cast is impeccable with so many big name stars on one set.  Besides the big names I mentioned above, the movie also stars Omar Epps, JB Smoove, Nicole Ari Parker, Jesse Usher, Romany Malco, and John Michael Higgins.  Also, in his film debut, is DC Young Fly—the first social media superstar turned movie actor.

Mo’Nique, who plays Aunt May, is comically on fire in “Almost Christmas”.  The funniest I have seen her in a long time. She was Nikki Parker-UPN-Queens of Comedy funny. It’s a combination of her delivery, spunkiness and articulate use of bad language that makes her performance so great.  You can’t help but to laugh.

My only critique is the flow and background of the storytelling in “Almost Christmas”.  The audience, in detail, gets everyone’s story except for the Mother Myers.  If she was the glue that kept the family together, I thought the movie would be complete if they told us how she died.  Some of the little details, or lack thereof, kept the mind wondering during the movie.

“Almost Christmas” is an awesome excuse for a family outing during the holidays.  The film is “Soul Food” (1997) and “This Christmas” (2007) all wrapped in a little seasonal gift.

3 Stars

Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

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