In ‘Spirited’, Will Farell and Ryan Reynolds blend comedy styles to deliver a musical version of the classic tale ‘A Christmas Story’ but with a few twists
With Christmas fast approaching we can expect a slew of Christmas movies to hit our screens, it’s tradition. And while many of the films will be of questionable quality, Apple are building their streaming service as a quality over quantity and their Christmas offering this year is no different.
Spirited is written and directed by Sean Anders who brought us the ‘Daddy’s Home’ family comedies. The film attempts to take the infamous story of Ebeneezer scrooge in A Christmas Carol and differentiate itself from all the previous versions by doing it as a family musical comedy.
Now I’m not a big fan of Christmas or Musicals, so why am I reviewing this movie? Simple, Ryan Reynolds and Will Farrell. Not all their movies are fantastic, but I always find them hugely entertaining, and they definitely deliver great entertainment here. These actors are best known for their adult oriented comedies so they both had to step out of their comfort zones to be funny without the reliance on swear words or heavily sexual content. The director does his utmost to keep it family friendly. That isn’t to say there aren’t a few jokes thrown in that only adults will understand but overall, it’s a family affair.
Will Farell stars as the Ghost of Christmas present alongside his team Christmas past, played by Sunita Mani and Christmas ‘Yet to Come’, voiced by Tracey Morgan. Ryan Reynolds is the despicable human being in need of saving and to be shown the error of his way. Without giving too much away, the movie follows the format of Charles Dickens novel but throws in some interesting twists to the traditional tale.
The film takes a bit of time to warm up but once Farrell and Reynolds get going, their foot rarely comes off the pedal. I was particularly surprised at how well these two actors’ comedy styles fitted together. There was no ‘straight ‘man as such, they were both allowed to play to their strengths and the blend was magnificent.
The film itself had a couple of sequences where it felt like they had gone off on a tangent, a bit out of place, like they weren’t sure how to fit everything together, but things worked best when they got back on track and simply varied Charles Dickens story rather than trying to over complicate it.
Read our review for Ryan Reynolds fantasy flick ‘Free Guy’ here
As a ‘non-Musicals’ fan, I’d say the choreography is excellent with some great routines. The songs were alright, well-constructed and one or two of them were actually quite funny, ‘Good Afternoon’ being the standout piece. I don’t know how many songs are standard for a musical, but I felt breaking into song happened a bit too much, but the frequency of songs was even made into a joke in the film, so it felt like we were all in on the joke.
Spirited is far from perfect and not the best interpretation of Charles Dickens Christmas Story novel but Director Sean Anders gets extra marks for trying something different with it. The cast are great with Ryan Reynolds and Will Farell fully committed and both singing and dancing their way across various scene with Octavia Spencer doing well as Ryan’s morally conflicted assistant. The movie is big, bright, funny and full of positive energy about Christmas and being a better person. Not a Christmas classic but very good energy and positive start to the Christmas movie season