Scrooged is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic, featuring TV executive Frank Cross, in the role of the titular character, as he has to deal with the three ghosts while trying to run a television network.
Spoiler Level: Minor-ish. Modtly none.
Christmas movies have to be judged on different scales then regular movies. For a regular movie, intricate storylines are encouraged, advanced plotlines are appreciated, and dark undertones are accepted. In a Christmas movie, you want none of that. These films are almost harder to do in some respects, as you want it to be entertaining at the base level while also not being too complex. Scrooged is interesting in that it stands on the edge of this very thin line, between too complex and not entertaining, leaning towards the complex side. Let me explain.
The Christmas Carol has been adapted a million times, and is one of the most told Christmas stories of all time save for the birth of Jesus. Scrooged takes the basic idea of The Christmas Carol and subverts it. Instead of Scrooge being our main character, we see someone else. Instead of following the basic storyline, there are deviations. During all of this, the main character is somewhat aware of what’s going to happen to him. All of this makes for an interesting ride.
For a Christmas movie, the characters are surprisingly grotesque. The Marley character is a horrifying creature out of a horror movie, and you can only imagine what the Ghost of Christmas Future looks like. By pushing the limits of what the ghosts can be, you push the limits of how engaging the story is. Because Cross is faced with these horrible demons, we want to see his change more and more.
This movie does star Bill Murray. This is a comedy, and the jokes come in with the movie’s morbidity. I laughed out loud a few times, which is more than I can say for most Christmas movies. Granted, most of these films are made for children and have children’s humor, but it’s nice to see a Christmas movie with actual jokes.
This is probably one of the few holiday movies that come with a PG-13 rating, which I found refreshing. And this is an ‘80s PG-13. I wouldn’t exactly show this movie to your kids, unless they’re of age, but for the older audience this film is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit without having to sit through the dull, made-for-kids physical comedy you see in the classics.
I did say, however, that it doesn’t cross the line. This is a Christmas movie after all, and the changes that Cross must go through are well deserved. Like the best Christmas Carol adaptations, his change is slow and steady. What this movie does that I actually prefer to other versions is the way the transition happens, through Cross having to see reality painfully and harshly. This is where the complex side comes in, as Cross is forced to face things much worse then Scrooge ever had to.
While Murray was excellent, I thought the best performance was from the unfortunately named Karen Allen, who plays Cross’ love interest, Claire. She captivated the audience in every single scene she was in.
For a fun, mature Christmas film to get you into the spirit, watch Scrooged.
Scrooged: A fun and Mature take on the Classic
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Acting - 9.5/109.5/10
Music - 8.5/108.5/10
Production - 9.3/109.3/10
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