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  • Writer's pictureGareth Bradwick

Spirited ★★

Sean Anders

Starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani

It’s an exciting prospect when two big names in modern comedy get together and put their minds to a, potentially timeless, Christmas classic. Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds have a history of smash hits and so the idea of them taking on the story of A Christmas Carol is incentive enough to give Apple TV+ a go.

This adaptation is told from the perspective of the ghosts in the Dickens story. In the Spirited world, the ghost of Christmas past, present and future are on an annual mission to change the past of the most cruel in society. For over 60 years, Will Ferrell’s character has been the Ghost of Christmas Present, and he chooses Clint Briggs (Reynolds) as this year’s wrongdoer-made-right.

The whole film has a high quality, almost-too-perfect sheen to it. This is a Will Ferrell silly comedy on a large budget, shot in 4K; the comedy loses it’s edge for me when things are too polished. The skits feel forced and the musical numbers are too big to feel spontaneous.

The choreography is fantastic though, and things generally bob along nicely. There are some nice numbers too, with the silly Good Afternoon bound to go down well with audiences. It spent a lot of time setting things up, and what could have been a tight 90 minute comedy, has ended up being a rather bloated two hours.

What could have been a classic, has ended up being an over-produced cheese fest. This will be just what some people wanted to see, but for me this time it’s bah humbug and Good Afternoon.

Spirited available now on Apple TV+

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