A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.
Billy Bob Thornton,
Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can't bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective, is recruited to close the case.
Denis Leary plays an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandonded by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple's blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they're driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences, before he can be nabbed by the police. Written by
Nick D. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original ending had Denis Leary being caught by the cops to show the son that a life of crime leads nowhere. However, after screening the movie to a test audience and receiving negative comments about the ending, director Ted Demme changed it. He now admits he regrets changing it. See more »
At one point while in the car after taking Lloyd and Caroline hostage, tail lights disappear behind Gus in the rear view window. See more »
How can we both be in the marriage and I'm miserable and you're content?
See more »
I enjoyed the Ref immensely. It is an off-beat change of pace from most Christmas feel-good movies, yet it still comes together in the end. Denis Leary is very convincing as the successful cat burglar caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Christine Baransky plays a delightfully deranged sister in law who is more interested in money and appearances than in family or Christmas. Kevin Spacey proves that he can play any part from milk toast nagged husband to serial killer.
One caution, though- if you are offended by cursing, then this movie is not for you. There is a great deal of cursing in it. If you've seen any of Denis Leary's stand-up, then you know what to expect, but if you want a Christmas movie to watch with the kids, go find A Christmas Story, Eloise at Christmastime or It's a Wonderful Life. Anything but this one!
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