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Scrooged (1988)

It’ll scare the Dickens out of you

Directed by:

Richard Donner

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

We’re all familiar with the story of ‘A Christmas Carol’, right? It’s about a tight-fisted old codger who gets visited one Chrimbo by a series of ghouls who teach him to mend his miserly ways. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve actually read the book – personally, I’m like most other people in that I owe my knowledge of the tale to Mickey Mouse and/or the Muppets.

But among the best of the adaptations is ‘Scrooged’, which plays with the story by dumping it in a modern day setting and casting the marvellous Bill Murray in the lead role. Murray plays Frank Cross, a high-flying workaholic TV exec who isn’t exactly noted among his staff for getting into the Christmas spirit. So, one December 24th, the Christmas spirits decide to get into him instead.

At its most satirical it’s a commentary on the pressures of corporate life in the 80s, with a nod and a wink in the direction of yuppies everywhere. At its funniest, it’s a loudmouth comedy with some extremely funny moments and a gooey centre.

It’s tough to imagine how this movie could have worked without the perfect comedy timing of Murray, who moves into super-sarcastic overload as the ghosts start coming from all angles. Coming between the two ‘Ghostbusters’ movies, he was a major draw at the time and it’s not difficult to see why he remains one of the most watchable faces in Hollywood.

Also amongst the fun cast are Karen Allen (who you’re most likely to recognise from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’), and the late Robert Mitchum as the golf-loving spectre who kicks the whole thing off. Look out for Bill Murray’s two real-life brothers – Jim and Brian – making up the members of his on-screen family.

It's Got: A ghost emerging from a TV set 10 years before the idea received universal acclaim in Ringu.

It Needs: One of those proton pack thingies from the Ghostbusters movies

DVD Extras Just a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

A Christmas Carol, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II

Summary

A seriously entertaining spin on the Dickens classic. Guaranteed to be a welcome stocking filler for any Bill Murray fans worth their salt.

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