On November 18, Apple TV+ already began to share the Christmas atmosphere thanks to the release of the tape “The Spirit of Christmas”. The main roles in the project were played by Ryan Reynolds and Will Farrell, so before watching, you could expect not only a festive mood, but also a high-quality comedy component. How the authors and main stars coped with it, as well as with dancing and singing, we tell in the review.
“Spirit of Christmas” / Spirited
Genre Christmas comedy musical
Directed by Shawn Anders
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Farrell, Octavia Spencer, Joe Tippett, Rose Byrne
Premiere of Apple TV+
Release year 2022
“The Spirit of Christmas” is a modern film interpretation of “A Christmas Carol in Prose” by Charles Dickens, to which humor and musical numbers have been added. Cinematographers Shawn Anders and John Morris, experienced in the comedy genre, were involved in the production and script. Behind them are both unpretentious nonsense like “Who’s in the House Dad” with the same Farrell, and hit comedies like “We are the Millers.” But the boys have no experience of working in musicals, and I must say, it is immediately noticeable.
After the three spirits of Christmas manage to re-educate a certain evil aunt who looks like Rose Byrne, they start looking for their next “victim”. The gaze of educators from the afterlife falls on the evil owner of a hotel business. But the Spirit of Christmas Present (Farrell) turns his attention to cocky, cruel PR man Clint Briggs (Reynolds).
The task is complicated by the fact that Briggs’s file has the dreaded bold stamp that reads “irredeemable.” Despite this, the spirits do take on the reincarnation of this unpleasant type. But they could not imagine that their new work would turn into unexpected consequences for everyone involved.
From the very beginning, it becomes clear that the creators of the film are trying to reassure the viewer: it is better to relax as much as possible while watching. And one should not take local events too seriously. Yes, the film, like the classic novel by Dickens, tries to teach and authentically sings of goodness in a Christmas way, and even in the literal sense. But its main purpose is to cheer up, and “The Spirit of Christmas” copes with this at a decent level.
It is obvious that as a musical Anders’ work is nothing special, if not to say that it is weak. The main stars do not perform any exciting numbers, and the dances in the background have a different look than the standard dance support. In the same Polyakova, things are much brighter on stage than here.
But the good thing is that the songs do not overshadow the actual comedy, where Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds feel like fish in water. You don’t have to wait for some humorous revelations, but to improve the mood and provide a festive atmosphere to the tape until the end.
It is also very clear that “The Spirit of Christmas” will not tell anything new. His morality is transparent and simple. But the storyline of Ferrell’s character looks interesting. First, his spirit is directly related to the hero of Dickens’s work. And secondly, he also goes through his own difficult path, just like his ward. So the local plot is not only about the reincarnation of a pagan. This is a mutual process for both main characters of the story.
At the same time, the main action takes place in our days, which is why modern topics are touched upon here. Talk of an aggressive PR campaign strategy (there is an allusion to the US presidential election), the consequences of a cancellation culture if it occurs without justification, a light mockery of corporate bureaucracies – this is what appears in the narrative. This approach seems to be successful, because who will be interested in just another painstaking screen adaptation of the immortal Dickensian classic? At the same time, the film does not forget to talk about the eternal.
Reynolds and Farrell look harmonious in the frame. The first plays a typical chatty cynic, the second takes the signature Farrell stupidity, but without inflections, and that’s good. The actors also interact beautifully, and their duet amuses the audience quite convincingly. Good vibes are worth their weight in gold these days, so let yourself be distracted and enjoy as much as the movie allows.
Pros: great on-screen duo, good comedy component, confident modern take on an old-as-world story, unobtrusive and appropriate sentimentality, good emotions, unexpected cameos Cons: musical numbers that fail to impress or remember, pale secondary characters (especially the other spirits of Christmas) Conclusion:
“The Spirit of Christmas” turned out to be a mediocre musical, but a funny and interesting comedy with good actors. The project does not claim the status of a Christmas classic that should be watched every year on Christmas Eve. But this is good entertainment that leaves only pleasant impressions