Monday, December 31, 2007

Scrooged


Scrooged; Fantasy comedy, USA, 1988; D: Richard Donner, S: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, David Johansen, John Glover, Alfre Woodard, Bob Goldthwait, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Carol Kane, John Murray, Brian-Doyle Murray, Robert Goulet

With only half good heart does Frank Cross, the youngest executive of a TV station, plan to make a programme for Christmas. For Frank it's a time without emotions, thus he plans a new, live "Scrooge" version on TV filled with nudity and action. But before the start of the show, he gets visited by three spirits - the ghost of Christmas past, present and future - who all show him his sad childhood, egoistic present and even worse future. Even though their methods are unorthodox, they change him into a kind person and he reunites with his former love Claire.

"Scrooged" seems like if a few screenwriters have been so fed up with Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and numerous TV adaptations of the Ebenezer Scrooge character, that they decided to turn the whole thing upside down and have a field day by creating a over-the-top grotesque out of it - the sole crazy exposition in which a TV spot shows a wild film called "The Night the Reindeer Died" in which some militants start a siege of Santa Claus' home on the North Pole and Lee Majors is there to help him, is worthy enough of a recommendation. It's almost a black comedy made with many technical creativity, unbelievable set design and great make up that, ironically, despite it's black humor still captivates the spirit of Christmas. Yes, the film has humor, but it's somewhat uneven in it's meandering between light and dark elements, some gags misfire or are forced, the ghost of Christmas present (Carol Kane) is a little bit irritating and Bill Murray is in great shape but some of his spontaneous improvisations seem misguided, thus some will definitely not like the film as a whole. Still, some scenes, like the one where the grown up Frank Cross starts to cry when he spots himself as a 4-year kid who got a chunk of meat from his dad for Christmas, is somehow strangely touching, and some hidden gags are wonderful, like the logo in his office: "Cross /kros/: A thing to stab people on to". Just like the forced, but honest 4 minute long moral monologue of the protagonist at the end, the movie is somehow shaky, yet inexplicably satisfying.

Grade:++

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