The 2022 movie ‘Spirited’ is a modern musical retelling of Charles Dickens famous classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. The story follows an after-life department that picks one horrid human to haunt each year and reforms them in time for the holidays. Will Ferrell plays a senior spirit who insists on choosing Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds), a corporate crook considered ‘irredeemable’ by his team. Can they really change a jerk who relies on scandal, controversies and spread of disinformation to make money?
Directed by Sean Anders, ‘Spirited’ has a snappy, witty first 30 minutes, but things go downhill from there. The idea of an organized team of ghosts working to transform one ‘bad’ person during Christmas was fun, however, the plot gets muddled when the focus shifts from Clint Briggs to Ferell’s spirit. The first few songs are amusing and then eventually like one of the characters in the film – even you want to say, “not another song please!”.
Anders and team had a great idea for a Christmas comedy, but Ferrell seemed a little ill-fitted for his role, even though Reynolds was quite fitting as an egocentric unscrupulous Clint who doesn’t care about anybody’s feelings. Octavia Spencer is wasted in a silly cameo, while Marlow Barkley has a sweet supporting role as his orphaned niece. What I did like about ‘Spirited’ is how it pays direct tribute to the original classic by Dickens, but while ‘A Christmas Carol’ has one clear-cut protagonist, the makers of this movie are burdened by the need to justify the presence of two big stars and aren’t able to balance the storytelling with two protagonists.
Overall it’s a decent one-time watch for the holidays with some lavish Christmas themed sets that spark joy. However, a two-hour musical about ghosts trying to transform an asshole into a good guy is too much.
It’s a 5/10 from me. Stream it on Apple TV.
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