Part #1 of the 2016 Christmas Countdown.
An interesting reworking of A Christmas Carol, Scrooged is an entertaining festive comedy built around an excellent performance from Bill Murray.
As Christmas nears, miserly TV executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) prepares a live production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As the production runs into difficulties, Frank becomes more and more unstable. This growing instability impacts negatively on those around him.
Frank distances himself from his family, mistreats and dismisses loyal employees and generally becomes more insular. In an effort to reverse this downward spiral, he is visited by a number of seasonal spirits who each attempt to show him the error of his ways.
To say that Scrooged is a retelling of A Christmas Carol would be putting it lightly. The entire plot is lifted wholesale from Dickens’ novel and placed in a new setting with just a sprinkling of updates added. To its credit, Scrooged doesn’t hide from this fact. Instead it uses its reverence to the Christmas classic as a solid foundation to build upon.
The cutthroat corporate world of 1980s network television is a surprisingly effective setting for such a well-trodden story. Bill Murray is entirely believable as an arrogant TV executive. He manages to be thoroughly unpleasant, but in such a way that’s daft enough to elicit a smile. Although it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, there’s an amiable quality here that’s very watchable.
Scrooged doesn’t exactly shake up the Dickensian formula, but it is a fine example of how to use it. It’s predictable, admittedly, and there are better examples of the same story out there, but the fresh setting, affable supporting cast and a show-stealing turn by Murray make this an essential film to watch this Christmas.