Release Date: 11/18/22 [Apple TV+ / Cinemas]
Studio: Apple TV+
"A musical version of Charles Dickens's story of a miserly misanthrope who is taken on a magical journey."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Arriving in time just for the holidays, Apple TV is dropping the Christmas-musical, Spirited, starring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. From Daddy's Home director Sean Anders, Spirited is a new angle on "A Christmas Carol" story - like we don't have enough of those already - where Will Ferrell, as the ghost of Christmas present must help Clint Briggs reach redemption just in time for Christmas day. Spirited was sprung on me quite suddenly, as it was Regal's mystery movie showing at the beginning of the month. Although, Spirited's premise sounds like a breezy time, I found the experience of the film quite grading as Ferrell and Reynolds walk through the film with nearly no charm, and an obnoxious music score that only made the experience even more excruciating.
Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds don't exactly feel like they're playing characters here. Ferrell's ghost of Christmas present echoes the nativity and silliness of Ferrell's own Buddy the Elf but without the charm of the character. It ends up coming across as a discount copy of the character that doesn't exactly have any real agency behind the film. It's a role that just comes across as insufferable with very minimal depth. Reynolds is more of the straight man here, but feels as by the numbers as any other Christmas movie. It's the "mean guy leans to be nice" arc we've seen in every one of them. It's not refreshing, or new. In fact, everything between these two is just unengaging and annoying.
There's music from Tony Award winning duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of Dear Evan Hansen fame. Although there's one number in the middle of the film that's quite entertaining and catchy, the music here is a dude. Nothing exactly comes together to really leave a lasting impression, and it's paired with dance choreography that's quite lazy. Not to mention the singing, which is the worst offender. Nobody can sing in this. Ferrell's vocals are raspy and ugly, and Reynolds just manages to really talk his way through the numbers. I was also quite disappointed with Octavia Spencer's supporting role as she is given a subpar arc and also the worst songs in the entire film.
I'm really unsure what I was really supposed to take away from Spirited. Other than being a misfire of a musical, it never really manages to really do anything new with "A Christmas Carol" story that's been retold countless times over and over in film history. What Spirited ends up being is an incredibly annoying experience with lazy and obnoxious performances, awful singing and dancing, and a Christmas movie that lands Sean Anders even further down the naughty list. You're honestly better off just rewatching Elf this holiday season.