Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Sunita Mani, Patrick Page, Tracy Morgan, Joe Tippett, and Marlow Barkley
Director: Sean Anders
I’m a simple man. I see a light-hearted movie that fills me with Christmas spirit, and I’m gonna like it. As such, I was able to get past the obvious flaws of Spirited. While most of the jokes miss, the majority of my laughter came from the natural comedic charm of Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. However, despite some interesting shifts from the source material, the film remains predictable. All that said, Spirited achieved its goal of being a fun Christmas film filled with joy and whimsical musical numbers, so it’s hard for me to consider it a waste of time.
Look, Spirited isn’t what I would call “good.” It’s too long, there are way too many musical numbers (the recurring, almost fourth-wall-breaking jokes pointing out the abundance of song-and-dance sequences don’t make them less exhausting), and it’s predictable despite some interesting diversions from the Charles Dickens’ classic. That said, it has enough charm, shiny entertainment value, sarcastic sincerity, and cast chemistry to function as a movie that plays in the background while opening presents on Christmas morning. Also, I’d watch an entire movie on Tracy Morgan’s Ghost of Yet to Come.
Spirited is a merry musical that allows two of the funniest men in the business, Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, to have fun doing some song-and-dance routines. However, it may have worked a wee bit better if our two leads had switched roles, and if some of the musical numbers didn’t give the film such whiplash. Overall, it’s a little rough around the edges, but still a cute twist on A Christmas Carol that is filled with a bunch of laugh-out-loud moments to get you in the Christmas spirit.
As hard as I tried to come around on it over the course of its far-too-long runtime, Spirited is truly very bad, and it only gets worse the more I think on it. Beyond the haphazard bungling of its themes, the film continually insists on bringing up conflicts, then abandoning those conflicts for different ones without actually paying anything off in a meaningful way. Even the musical sequences feel derivative; the slow ones all sound the same, while the upbeat numbers also sound too similar. Despite a few decent jokes here and there, even its central comic duo falls painfully flat.