The Screen Room
It’s not very often these days that I watch a new film and enjoy it to the point that I can see it becoming an annual watch in my house. However, last night Mrs Screen Room Movie Blog and myself switched our Christmas lights on, got cosy on the sofa (not like that) and watched a new Christmas movie that I think will be getting added to our yearly festive movie viewing schedule.
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a festive family musical/comedy, and basically a modern retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. It’s also a kind of satire of many of the adaptations we’ve all no doubt seen over the years.
It stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Will Ferrell (Elf), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Patrick Page (The Sixth Reel) and a load of other actors all seemingly having the time of their life.
This is what it’s about according to the internet:
“Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. The “unredeemable” Clint Briggs (Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself re-examining his own past, present and future. For the first time, “A Christmas Carol” is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale.”
The first time I heard about this film was back in the summer when my sister sent me a TikTok video of Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell singing “Grace Kelly” by Mika. It was obviously a subtle bit of promo for the movie (not to mention quite entertaining), and from Will Ferrell’s period costume (and some vague details on IMDb) I learned they were making a Christmas movie.
I have to admit I initially thought it was a slightly unconventional pairing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Will Ferrell, and Ryan Reynolds doesn’t often disappoint either but it got me wondering what type of Christmas film they were making. As it turns out - a bloody good one!!
I loved it! Not only is it a brilliant concept (an industry built by redeemed souls who go about redeeming total a-holes year after year) but it’s just so much fun!
Ryan Reynolds is excellent as the main character and “unredeemable” Clint Briggs. He once again brings his trademark quick and snappy wit but in a more likeable way than his of-late tiresome “Deadpool persona”. If anything he’s more like his Just Friends (2005) character Chris Brander.
In stark contrast to Reynolds you’ve got Will Farrell who plays a nearing-retirement “Ghost of Christmas Present”. He’s been doing the job for a couple of hundred years and wants a shot at redeeming someone who’s been classed as unredeemable before he bows out. He’s so incredibly likeable that you can’t help but root for him and feel bad for him when things start going sideways. He’s not quite “Buddy the Elf” but he has much of the same innocence and charm that made him so loveable.
The two play off each other brilliantly and as you can probably imagine the results are hilarious.
Octavia Spencer who I’ve been a big fan of since seeing her in Hidden Figures (2016) a few years back is adorable as the love interest to Will Ferrell’s character. Their relationship is really sweet and I totally bought into their chemistry.
I wasn’t aware going in to this movie that it was a musical - and by musical I just mean it has several musical numbers in it. When the first one kicked in I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel (if you saw my Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street post a while back you’ll know I’m not a fan of musicals), but I actually really enjoyed the musical side of it.
The songs (written by the guys who also wrote songs for La La Land (2016) and The Greatest Showman (2017)) are excellent and the whole thing feels like a huge production that you could easily imagine being a live stage show. All of the cast get stuck right in with the singing and the dancing too, and although there’s no doubt a fair bit of autotune on their vocals it doesn’t sound too obvious unlike some of the recent Disney live-action remakes.
Listen out for the song “The View from Here” sung by Octavia Spencer and Will Ferrell around 1hr 35 into the film.
This movie is everything a Christmas film should be. It’s funny and uplifting, sad at times, but also heartwarming and meaningful. Ultimately though it makes you smile. And unless you’re like old Ebenezer Scrooge himself, you’ll feel all the happier for having watched it.
If you like Christmas films (and/or Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds) you can’t go wrong with this movie. It’s like Scrooged (1988) crossed with The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)…just without the Muppets.
It’s currently streaming on Apple TV+
Seen it? Let me know below.