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broodings from the burrow

December 3, 2022

virtual advent tour 2022: day 3
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2022

Welcome back to third day of the Virtual Advent Tour!

Today, I thought I’d share a short review of Spirited, the new Ryan Reynolds-Will Ferrell film that’s streaming on Apple+ and showing at select movie theaters.

In this musical twist on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Will Ferrell plays the Ghost of Christmas Present at an afterlife nonprofit, run by Jacob Marley, dedicated to redeeming a crummy person each year and thereby keeping a sense of good will alive in the world.

While scouting their next target, they stumble across Ryan Reynolds’ character, Clint, a stereotypical p.r. mogul who has made a career out of ruining people. Present sees the potential for broad impact in making Clint their next “star” and pushes Marley to make the decision, even going so far as to threaten to take his retirement — an opportunity to return to the earth as a mortal — if Marley says that Clint’s too far gone to be selected.

After Marley agrees, things quickly devolve, with Clint and Past hooking up and Present having to take a more active role in the haunting. Clint responds by looking to figure out what motivates Present, in order to manipulate him, and mayhem follows.

The show also stars Octavia Spencer as Clint’s number two, but with a conscience; Tracy Morgan as the voice of Christmas Yet to Come; and Sunita Mani as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Ferrell and Reynolds are both adequate, but not stellar, singers, so if you love really well-done musical theater, go in with reasonable expectations. My dad (normally a huge A Christmas Carol fan) thought it was overly long, my mother suggests that there’s so much going on that it will hold up to multiple viewings, and I thought the song lyrics (a Pasek-Paul production — the team behind The Greatest Showman, La La Land, and Dear Evan Hansen) and choreography (by D.C. native ChloĆ© Arnold) were the highlights of the show.

Watch Spirited if you want a family-friendly holiday musical, if you like solid twists on Dickens’ most famous story, or if you enjoy a fun buddy comedy. If you aren’t a huge Will Ferrell fan, this is the more toned down version of him (think less Ron Burgandy and way more Harold Crick from Stranger Than Fiction), and I would table concerns if that’s the only thing holding you back.

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