Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Sunday, December 11, 2011


Year: 1988
Running time: 101 minutes
Certificate: PG
Language: English
Screenplay: Mitch Glazer, Michael O'Donoghue
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Robert Mitchum, Alfre Woodard, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane

His terrible dandruff problem had ruined another outfit.
Bill Murray brings his own unique style of comic brilliance to Dickens' age-old story of changing your ways before it’s too late, A Christmas Carol. What results is a cracking film about Murray’s mean TV producer Frank Cross, who gets to relive his life and see how his future will turn out if he doesn’t start being nicer to people. There are more ‘classic’ versions of the story available, but for a comedy take this is up there with The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Murray's Cross is one of the most greed-driven highly-pressured misers ever dreamed up and he is a huge amount of fun to watch.  Setting a classic tale in a modern-day setting is not exactly an original idea, but it is rarely executed this well.  Written by Michael O'Donoghue, who, other than Scrooged, is mainly credited with work on live comedy show Saturday Night Live, and his insight into the inner workings of live television allow for some authenticity to be sprinkled through the movie, as Frank struggles to produce a live retelling of Dickens' novel.

To save his future, Frank Cross has to relive his past.
There are more great spins on things, the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present (David Johansen and Carol Kane) being prime examples, the former a loudmouth time-travelling cabbie, the latter a sweet little fairy with a penchant for violence.  The beating heart beneath the cynical comedy is the sweet relationship that develops between Cross and Karen Allen's Claire, and as with any version of A Christmas Carol, it is the palpable sense of helpless regret as Scrooge, or, in this case, Frank, is forced to watch past mistakes while unable to change them that strikes the biggest emotional chord.

As with any version of A Christmas Carol, you know the ending before it starts, and Murray, unfortunately, cannot quite pull off the complete and utter change of heart entirely convincingly - he's much more fun when he's trying to staple antlers onto mice.  Even so, it is still a lot of fun and worth re-watching every year.

Score: 7/10

Scrooged is well-liked out there, as you can see by having a look at these reviews by Gary and Phil.