|"No, you are a hallucination, brought on by alcohol! Russian Vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl!"|
|Time: 101 mins.|
Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup.
Being a huge fan of Bill Murray, I like just about everything he has done. Mainly because he's unafraid to take chances or appear silly onscreen. In fact, he relishes in it. Normally, he plays a lovable, screw-off who hates authority and tries to sleep with whatever pretty girl he can get his hands on. What's different about SCROOGED is that he's the authority figure and neither lovable nor a screw-off. He plays Frank Cross (the Scrooge character), a mean-spirited, workaholic television executive who wants nothing for Christmas except the best ratings on the planet.
Anybody who disagrees with him and his warped sense of family values his idea of appropriate holiday fare is Lee Majors as Santa shooting up the North Pole with an uzi winds up on the street without a job. He won't even let his secretary, played by Alfre Woodard, go home early on Christmas eve to be with her children. Frank's life is his work and his live Christmas spectacular is going to be the most watched show since J.R. got shot, so help him God. Unfortunately, life has other plans in the form of the three ghosts we know and love so well Christmas Past, Present and Future. We learn that Frank became an asshole because he grew up poor and let his ambition get in the way of his holiday spirit. He even had true love, but he sacrificed it for the money and success of a high-powered television career. In the end, it's revealed by a very icky/scary rendition of the Ghost of Christmas Future that he ends up dying alone.
Unwilling to let these visions become his future, Frank turns himself around. Unfortunately, he's pissed off the wrong employee in a wonderfully funny turn by Bobcat Goldthwait who wants nothing more than Frank's head on a platter and has the shotgun to make it reality. But Frank doesn't care about the bullets aimed at his head. He's all about love now and hires the guy back at twice his salary. Together they take over the broadcast booth so that Frank can spread his message of joy, love and peace to the entire television audience, especially his lost love. For those who like a little sour mixed in with their holiday sweets, you will love this movie.
Murray is at his manic best, giving a sweet, funny and sarcastic performance that will make you laugh out loud. This ain't your grandmother's Scrooge, but a modern update to the classic tale of overnight redemption. The film has its' unnecessary and trite moments, however, Murray and company never let the action slow down for long. The supporting cast is wonderful, especially Carol Kane who gives an amazing performance as the wacky, toaster-packing Ghost of Christmas Present and John Forsythe as Cross's now-dead partner who warns him about the hell that's waiting for him if he doesn't shape up. Allen and Woodard add their intelligence and spunk to the fire as the two most important ladies in Cross's life. SCROOGED is twisted but fun holiday fare, a great alternative to the traditional warm and fuzzy flicks normally playing during December.