Ernest Saves Christmas
Time Out saysWhat can you expect from a cheap seasonal movie directed by an advertising executive and starring a character devised as a vehicle for selling American couch-potatoes anything from milk to financial services? Santa Claus (Seale) arrives in America (by plane) in search of Joe Carruthers (Clark), unemployed children's entertainer and heir apparent to Father Christmas' throne. Not surpisingly, everyone thinks Mr Claus is a fruitcake, but with the help of a 'wacky' cab-driver and a 'streetwise' runaway girl, rampant festivity triumphs. At the centre of the film is the said taxi-driver, Ernest P Worrell (Varney), a twisted, cheap imitation of the young Jerry Lewis, whose comic turns make Paul Hogan's repertoire seem a galaxy of creativity. This, combined with Cherry's staggeringly inept direction, is not unlike watching 91 solid minutes of commercials, with Varney's resolutely unfunny zaniness interspersed with tooth-rottingly saccharine messages from the sponsor (Christmas is nice, children are nice, etc).