A Very Murray Christmas has heart but no hop
It’s not often that one comes across something like A Very Murray Christmas. It’s not terrible, it’s not great – it’s a disappointment, but I’m not sorry I watched it… I wouldn’t even call it an oddity of mediocrity, because it’s not necessarily mediocre. It just kind of… is.
The extremely heavy-handed plot doesn’t really need to exist, particularly since they toss it aside twenty or so minutes in. I think this would have been a lot more fun if it was just a bunch of people snowed in at a hotel (and a lot simpler, too) trying to entertain each other. Another thing I can’t figure out is why Sofia Coppola plastered her name all over the special; there’s nothing particularly interesting about her directing choices.
Then there’s the use of the cast.
Bill Murray is great (in general); I love Bill Murray, but he just didn’t have enough opportunities to be funny. He’s not bad in this, but if you’re going to give Bill Murray a special, someone needs to make sure you’re getting the maximum Murray-ness out of him. That’s why I watched the damn thing! Paul Shaffer is a great example – they got all the Shaffer out of him they could. He played the piano, dropped timely comments… he did Shaffer stuff. Chris Rock, on the other hand (who was only there for a few minutes), tried to make his bit part funny, and it sorta worked, but mostly, it felt like we were watching the longest version of “The Little Drummer Boy” ever – also due in part to Coppola not having any idea how to make this look interesting. Fortunately, Miley Cyrus and Maya Rudolph rode in on a pair of white horses and saved the day (and sang their asses off) while George Clooney (who basically did the same thing as Chris Rock, but since he’s not a comedian and his set wasn’t boring as hell, it was both unexpected and visually interesting), Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones and the band Phoenix also contributed to right the ship…
Although why they stopped singing Christmas songs for a while, I can’t even begin to guess. Meanwhile, Amy Poehler was mostly wasted while Michael Cera was completely wasted in a scene that probably only ended up in the show to either help meet a running time requirement or by virtue of the fact that Michael Cera was in it.
And yet, A Very Murray Christmas isn’t bad. I can’t recommend it, either. There are some moments that border on great and while other beats are shockingly terrible. I guess you could call it a mixed bag in Santa’s sleigh; some kids get toys, some kids get coal.
Posted on December 14, 2015, in christmas blog posts, movie review, music review, tv review and tagged A Very Murray Christmas, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray, chris rock, christmas, george clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph, Michael Cera, miley cyrus, netflix, netflix streaming, Paul Shaffer, phoenix, rashida jones, Sofia Coppola. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.