As promised, the 12 Films of Christmas continue! It started on Monday with animated, family-friendly Arthur Christmas, but now we’re diving into one you probably shouldn’t watch with the kids—or at least not the younger tykes. Prior to seeing it for the first time last night, I hadn’t really heard much about it. Though I liked it, I’m not sure it’s for everyone. A darkly comic adaptation of A Christmas Carol, this film is pretty bizarre. Still, it has its merits. So without further ado…for the second film of Christmas my local library gave to me…Scrooged with Bill Murray!
Synopsis: “A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.” –www.imdb.com
The Holly Jolly:
- The fact that Frank’s station is putting on a live show of A Christmas Carol. It’s a clever way to juxtapose the traditional story the station is telling with the modern take the film presents.
- Bill Murray. He flawlessly pulls of the film’s Scrooge, Frank Cross. But let’s be real—this man could play Hitler, Vlad the Impaler, and Osama bin Laden all in one movie then go on to strangle puppies and we’d still find him ridiculously lovable and charming (but I really hope he never strangles puppies…in movies or in real life).
- It’s like Beetlejuice does Christmas. The film has a bizarre, quirky vibe to it that honestly made me double check to make sure it wasn’t directed by Tim Burton (though that may have had something to do with the Danny Elfman score). Sounds strange for a Christmas film, I know, but for the most part it works. It provides a pretty fresh spin.
- The Ghosts. Christmas Past is a sassy, elf-eared cab driver, Christmas Present is a wild fairy with a fondness for Stooge-like slapstick, and Christmas Future is the grim reaper you’d expect with a bit of a twist—he’s got sad souls living in his ribcage (which is pretty darn creepy). Also, Frank’s deceased former boss makes a great appearance in zombified form.
- Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk. This guy has one of the weirdest voices I’ve ever heard (I immediately recognized him as one of Hades’ minions in Disney’s Hercules), but it’s great for comedy. Eliot is a sort of Bob Cratchit character, but he goes a little crazy for a while. It’s pretty funny.
The Lumps of Coal:
- The very beginning is a little jarring. Once you understand what’s going on, it’s funny, but there’s a long minute of “huh?” beforehand.
- At first, the film moves at such a fast pace that it’s hard to keep up. It does eventually slow down and let you settle in, but for a while it’s so all over the place that I seriously considered picking another Christmas film…
- Remember that slapstick-loving Ghost of Christmas Present I mentioned? Though her antics are sometimes funny, they can be a little…much. Stooge slapstick only goes so far before you say bah humbug.
- The end drags on and on. It’s also pretty cheesy. That’s somewhat expected, of course, since it’s a Christmas film, but I guess since the end is overly long the cheesiness seems amplified.
In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: Scrooged isn’t the best adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but it’s a decent Christmas comedy for grown-ups and a fun, modern take on a classic tale. If you’re a Bill Murray fan, you should definitely check it out because he’s as wonderful as ever in it. And if you’re not a Murray fan…what the heck is wrong with you, you Scrooge?!
My Glad Tidings: B
Two down! This Christmas series is rolling along! I don’t know what the weather is like where you’re at, dear readers, but here we are supposed to be getting snow tomorrow night. A winter wonderland sounds like just what this little blogger needs to keep the Christmas reviews coming. 🙂