This Christmas (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Preston A. Whitmore II|
Preston A. Whitmore IIWill Packer
|Written by||Preston A. Whitmore II|
|Music by||Marcus Miller|
|Edited by||Paul Seydor|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
This Christmas is a 2007 American Christmas romantic musical comedy-drama film produced by Rainforest Films and distributed by Screen Gems. Written, produced and directed by Preston A. Whitmore II, it is a Christmas time story that centers on the Whitfield family, whose eldest has come home for the first time in four years. The film is based on the 1970 Donny Hathaway song of the same name, which is covered by Chris Brown in the film. The Whitfield family overcome many trials and obstacles during the Christmas season.
One morning, Shirley Ann "Ma'Dere" Whitfield (Loretta Devine) greets her boyfriend, Joe (Delroy Lindo) when he wakes up. She helps him gather his belongings since she doesn't want her children to know that they are living together and asks him to keep his stuff in the garage for a while. Lisa (Regina King) and her husband (Laz Alonso) and their two kids are about to leave to go to Ma'Dere's house, and Michael "Baby" Whitfield (Chris Brown) gets a digital camera from Joe and Ma'Dere confronts him about this. Quentin (Idris Elba) plays a saxophone at a local bar; after being followed by a couple of thugs who he owes money to, he manages to avoid them and he retreats the bar. Lisa, Kelli (Sharon Leal) who is a model, and Claude (Columbus Short) who is a soldier on leave, come to Ma'Dere's house for the Christmas holiday. Melanie "Mel" (Lauren London) shows up with her boyfriend (Keith Robinson) Devean on winter break from school.
During dinner, Malcolm asks Devean how he feels about "attending an all-black college" and Devean responds respectively, and Melanie and Devean admits to everyone that they both have the same major. Kelli is annoyed to see how Malcolm manages her sister and Lisa heatedly protects her husband. Afterwards when the siblings are all gathered together along with Devean and Malcolm, Lisa suggests they should sell the family dry-cleaners business despite everyone's opinion, which leads to an argument between Lisa and Kelli, after Kelli assumes that it was Malcolm's idea to sell it even though it is true. After Quentin arrives unexpectedly, he talks to his family at the dinner table, when he sees Joe he starts to make rude remarks towards him. In the kitchen, Mel informs Devean about Ma'Dere's ex-husband Senior who left the family a little after Baby was born to travel the world to play his music. That is the main reason why Ma'Dere thinks that music is the reason why her men leave after Quentin became interested in playing and left the family as well. Mel and Devean begin to kiss and eventually make out in the pantry. Quentin finds Joe and threatens him again. When Joe leaves, he plays the piano in the garage that use to belong to his father Senior. Claude attempts to sneak off to a club, causing everyone to come with him. He eludes them long enough to talk to a young woman that he knows and tells her that he will meet her later. When Baby performs at the club, the family is astonished when they find out he can sing. Kelli decides to leave the club with an old schoolmate of Quentin named Gerald (Mekhi Phifer). Eventually, Claude loses his temper with some guys who insult the young woman that they saw him with and he pulls his gun out at the club, causing them to leave.
At the house, Baby convinces his siblings to keep his ability to sing a secret, since he knows Ma'Dere will fear that he will leave her too to chase his music like Quentin and Senior. The next day, all the guys looks for a Christmas tree. Later on, Kelli, Lisa, and Mel are wrapping presents, when Kelli confesses that she slept with Gerald. At the airport, Malcolm has to leave because of his "job" and Lisa asks him why he has to leave so soon. In response, he tells Lisa everything will work out and Lisa feels depressed when Malcolm says their "partners". Lisa comes home with Mo and Dude, the thugs who attempts to beat Quentin so that they can get their money, until he tells them that a police car is nearby.
Claude is arrested for the gun at the club and Lisa and Quentin go to the station to fix the situation. Lisa explains to Quentin why they have to sell the dry cleaners and admits to him that Joe has been living with their mother. Ma'Dere scolds the family, for not cooking dinner or getting prepared for Christmas. When Lisa and Quentin return, they tell everyone that Claude is AWOL and the family is shocked when they meet Claude's newly wed, Sandi (Jessica Stroup). Mo and Dude meet Ma'Dere, resulting in Quentin acting nonchalant. Sandi tells Mel that Claude is AWOL because he wanted his family to meet his new wife and eventually admits that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Quentin confronts Ma'Dere about her relationship with Joe and why no one told him that she and Senior were divorced.
Outside, Kelli talks to Lisa about the events that took place, and Lisa also tells her that even though she didn't get a college degree, someone had to help their mom with the dry-cleaning business when Kelli went to Harvard. Kelli admits that Malcolm is cheating on Lisa and she confesses that she already knew about it. Kelli says that 'sharing her man with another woman is pathetic', leading to a fight between Lisa and Kelli in the rain. Mel then breaks up the fight. Mel tells Kelli about Sandi's pregnancy and that Claude doesn't know about it. In the mean time, Lisa angrily damages Malcolm's car and makes it fall off a cliff. That night, Gerald spends the night with Kelli. Baby gives Quentin a scrapbook of Christmas pictures before he leaves to escape from Mo and Dude. Baby confesses to Ma'Dere that he has a singing talent but she refuses to listen to his dreams.
Quentin goes to the train station with ambitions of being a professional musician, but he is ambushed by Mo and Dude and Joe shows up to defend him. Joe is able to convince them to leave Quentin alone and tries to convince Quentin to come home but he refuses. Kelli tells Gerald to come visit her in New York. Lisa persuades Malcolm to take a shower after he comes back from a trip with another woman. Lisa confronts Malcolm about cheating on her and starts to beat him repeatedly with a belt, and they reluctantly gets a divorce. At Church, Baby sings "This Christmas" which moves his mother to tears. Ma'Dere then shows that she will support Baby with his singing by kissing him on the cheek and Claude shows up at the church after being released. After the church service, Quentin returns and reconciles with Joe and his family. The cast members are seen dancing before the end-credits roll.
- Loretta Devine as Shirley Ann Whitfield known as Ma'Dere
- Delroy Lindo as Joe Black
- Idris Elba as Quentin Whitfield, Jr.
- Regina King as Lisa Whitfield-Moore
- Sharon Leal as Kelli Whitfield
- Columbus Short as Claude Whitfield
- Lauren London as Melanie Whitfield
- Chris Brown as Michael 'Baby' Whitfield
- Laz Alonso as Malcolm Moore
- Ricky Harris as Cousin Fred Whitfield
- Keith Robinson as Devan Brooks
- Jessica Stroup as Sandi Whitfield
- Lupe Ontiveros as Rosie
- David Banner as Mo
- Ronnie Warner as Dude
- Mekhi Phifer as Gerald
Reviews for the film were generally mixed. As of December 4, 2007, a slim majority of the critics on Rotten Tomatoes judged the film "rotten", with the consensus view being that the film "Has strong performances, but relies too heavily on holiday movie clichés." The score on Metacritic is 63 out of 100, "Generally favorable reviews". Despite some bad reviews the movie ranked number 2 in the box office (next to Enchanted). The film became a box office hit after opening with $17,958,183. It went on to gross $49,121,934 domestically on a budget of just $13 million.
DVD and Blu-ray release
This Christmas Soundtrack was released by Jive Records on November 20, 2007.
- This Christmas - Chris Brown - 3:18
- I'll Be Home for Christmas (Waiting On Remix) - Jordin Sparks - 3:13
- Jingle Bells - B2K - 3:18
- Try a Little Tenderness - Chris Brown - 6:14
- Merry Christmas Baby - Charles Brown - 4:49
- Silent Night - Boney James Feat. Anthony Hamilton - 5:16
- Please Come Home for Christmas - Aaron Neville - 2:52
- I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) - Aretha Franklin - 2:50
- Got to Give It Up, Part 1 - Marvin Gaye - 4:13
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Luther Vandross - 5:05
- The Christmas Song - Toni Braxton - 3:25
- Santa Baby - Lina - 3:20
- Sleigh Ride - TLC - 3:44
- O Holy Night - Denetria Champ - 4:33
Awards and nominations
- Asian Excellence Awards
- Outstanding Actress in a Movie: (Sharon Leal), Winner
- Image Awards
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: (Loretta Devine), Nominated
- Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture: (Preston A Whitmore II), Nominated
- MTV Movie Awards
- Breakthrough Performance: (Chris Brown), Nominated
- No byline, rottentomatoes.com, This Christmas. Accessed 4 December 2007.
- No byline, metacritic.com, This Christmas. Accessed 4 December 2007.
- The Numbers - US Movie Box Office Chart Weekend of November 23, 2007
- This Christmas - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information - The Numbers