Title – Spirited (2022)
Director – Sean Anders (Instant Family)
Cast – Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer
Plot – A modern take on the famed Charles Dickens story that sees the ghost of Xmas Present (Ferrell) try and change the seemingly unredemable Clint Briggs (Reynolds) into a better man during the festive season.
Review by Eddie on 12/12/2022
Returning to the festive season sub-genre that made him a superstar for the first time since 2003’s global hit Elf, Will Ferrell and his first time partner in crime Ryan Reynolds bring charisma and energy to Apple TV’s big budgeted original Spirited, a modern musical take on the classic Charles Dickens tale that breaks no new ground but provides exactly what it promises on its way to providing laughs and schmaltzy heart.
Directed by Sean Anders who continues on in the same vein as he operated in with such feature lengths efforts like Instant Family and Daddy’s Home, Spirited sees the comedic director team up with renowned Hollywood songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to tell the story of Reynolds (who would’ve guessed it) wisecracking, arrogant and satirically minded businessman Clint Briggs be haunted by Will Ferrell’s ghost of Xmas Present in hopes that the seemingly unredeemable Briggs can be converted to a caring model citizen against the backdrop of a New York festive season.
Filled with some certifiable foot-tapping song and dance numbers, with a highlight being the rollicking Good Afternoon, and the joy of being able to see Death himself voiced by a sassy Tracy Morgan, Spirited keeps things moving at a fairly enjoyable pace until the later long-winded stages with the chemistry between Ferrell and Reynolds a highlight that ensures even though Anders film is undeniable over the top and melodramatic, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the messages at heart here are worthwhile and that these type of unashamedly cheesy Hollywood affairs have their time and place in the yearly release schedule.
In year’s past one suspects that the high-profile billing of its two stars and family orientated material would’ve made Spirited the type of festive season box office draw that seemingly made itself apparent during the pre-Xmas period each year and in some ways it’s a shame in such a quiet period for cinemas around the world Spirited was only granted a very limited run at cinemas before its streaming release with it likely many willing families will not even be aware this unremarkable but entertaining offering is available for their viewing needs.
Coming along at a perfect time for both Reynolds and Ferrell who have been delivering some sub-par and charmless feature films of late, Spirited is a timely reminder to all of the joys of these two performers when they’re on (forgive the pun) song and when a film accepts what it is and sticks to its guns, with Anders film offering up a new take on a classic tale that is sure to please those that watch with the right intentions and expectations.
Final Say –
Never steering off course to deliver a Hollywoodized family Xmas affair that comes alive with some energetic song and dance numbers and decent laughs, Spirited is the perfectly adequate yule tide themed feature that 2022 needed.
3 stolen parcels out of 5