My 2 Cents on Apple TV+’s Spirited

Premise: “Imagine Charles Dickens’ heartwarming tale of a scrooge visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve—but funnier.”

What’s new, everyone? Yes, here is yet another adaptation of A Christmas Carol—this time, an Apple TV+ movie that puts its own modern musical spin on the Charles Dickens novel, with Ryan Reynolds playing the Scrooge-esque Clint Briggs and Will Ferrell playing Ghost of Christmas Present. You may be tempted to brush off Spirited as an extraneous reboot, but I actually think it’s got some value. It takes numerous opportunities to poke fun at itself, even going so far as to acknowledge the original A Christmas Carol. Reynolds doesn’t make any attempt to break out of the smart-aleck role in which Hollywood has typecast him, but I love his energy nevertheless. Ferrell delivers a holiday pep that’s reminiscent of what he brought to Buddy in Elf. Both Reynolds and Ferrell are surprisingly talented when it comes to singing and dancing, which helps me forgive the generic nature of most of the soundtrack. Out of the whole supporting cast, Sunita Mani is the one who I found to be the funniest, with Tracy Morgan (the choice to cast him as the voice of Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is out of left field, but it works somehow) and Octavia Spencer close behind. Spirited is filled with a good amount of cheesiness, but writer-director Sean Anders and writer John Morris have also put intriguing twists on the story, steering it away from what could have been a conventional adaptation of A Christmas Carol and instead using Dickens’s age-old tale as more of a launchpad to tell their own narrative about the importance of believing in people’s ability to change and the power we have to make a positive difference in the world. Sure, those are commonplace themes, but Spirited still executes them decently enough.

Now, I’m not saying Spirited is flawless. The comedy is flat half the time, the majority of the songs are forgettable aside from “Bringin’ Back Christmas,” the runtime should have been shaved by fifteen or twenty minutes, and I rolled my eyes at the way it wove cancel culture into the plot. But overall, I can see Spirited being a sweet and entertaining pick for people to add to their Christmas movie roundups.

Until next time, stay healthy and stay strong!

Windup score: 70/100

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