Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Movie Review: Scrooged

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Much of the cast is great
Cons: The over-the-top acting leaves the jokes flat
The Bottom Line:
Reworking classic
A modern Christmas Carol
For me, it falls flat

Way Too Over the Top

Since I love A Christmas Carol, I’ve always thought about watching Scrooged.  I saw a clip at one point that led me to believe I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I was still curious.  When it was on TV last year, I finally gave in and recorded it.  Yep, I didn’t enjoy it.

The movie follows Frank Cross (Bill Murray), who is the executive at the IBN Network.  He’s currently working on promoting their Christmas programming, which includes a live version of Scrooge.  But Frank has more in common with Scrooge than he’d be willing to admit, and when the ghost of his former boss and best friend (John Forsythe) shows up to try to warn him, he doesn’t take it seriously.  Until other ghosts start showing up.

I get the idea behind it.  I truly do.  It was supposed to be a funny spoof on the Christmas classic.  However, it doesn’t work.  And there’s a simple reason why, Bill Murray is ramped up to an 11 the entire way through the film.  His behavior is so over the top that it isn’t funny.  It isn’t annoying either.  You can’t look away from it, but you also aren’t enjoying it.  He’s not the only one.  The ghosts are just as over the top.  I get what the jokes are supposed to be, but they really aren’t funny.

In between the appearances of the ghosts, we see Frank going about his day.  His disappearances and reappearances are clever, but the result of this is that the scenes with the ghosts are short changed.  Since that’s the emotional heart of the story, it robs the movie of any of that.  Frank’s change at the end feels like a change because the story dictates it rather than a change because of anything he’s seen and learned.

For those familiar with the original story, there are some nice nods to it.  Yes, they changed quite a few things, but those nods were fun, and I appreciated them.

Not all the actors were over the top.  Those who were trying to play things straight were good, and I enjoyed watching them.

This is definitely a case of, I see the jokes, but the jokes don’t work the way they are supposed to.  If you want to watch a comedic take on the story that works, I can’t recommend Muppet Christmas Carol enough.  But I don’t recommend you watch Scrooged.

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