"Richard Donner shoots the film as a supernatural fantasy and gives it a superior shine." | Photo: Paramount Pictures

Acid Rain. Drug Addiction. International Terrorism. Freeway Killers. Now, more than ever, it is important to remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Don't miss Bill Murray's immortal classic Scrooged. Your life might just depend on it.

In America they make a big deal of Christmas Specials, with some of them (such as Charlie Brown and The Grinch) going down in TV history. When it comes to story many lazy staff writers just milk the Christmas Carol goat. There are millions of different takes out there to prove it with Roseanne, The Bill, Coronation Street and the original Star Trek series all doing their own rip-offs. IBC boss Frank Cross (Bill Murray dressed up as Steven Seagal's long-lost twin brother) is a delightfully wicked man of hate who is planning his own live broadcast of said story. Little does he know that this tale is about to wind it's way into his life.

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Why I like Frank Cross is because he's a lot like me. He's mean to those beneath him, yields power with a ruthless swagger and is sarcastic to just about everyone. If you disagree with him in even the slightest, tiniest little way he'll fire you. Just like I would. But on this certain Christmas Eve life is getting decidedly weird for him.

The owner of the station is doubting his abilities to undertake such a heavy production, a slimy Californian director is trying to muscle-in on his job and his dead boss comes back to haunt him. He brings an important message that if he doesn't change his way he's going to hell and that three ghosts, of Christmas past, present and future, are going to show him the results of his evilness.

In the hands of just another comedy director this would have been a missed opportunity, but Richard Donner shoots the film as a supernatural fantasy and gives it a superior shine. Something Brian Levant could never do. And let's not forget Bill Murray, the guy is a genius no matter what he does and he dominates the whole film with his loud and maniacal performance. Everything he says appears ad-libbed and he babbles some brilliant one-liners and sarcasm.

Most people are put-off by the ending and claim that when the nastiness stops and sentiment kicks in the film goes downhill. I don't feel this way. In a world where Christmas is commercialised and the time of year where people go in huge debt we need a constant reminder of what we should be feeling. No one is asking you to celebrate the fact that ASDA are selling cheap turkeys or that greedy stores have a limited stock of hideously overpriced XBoxes. At the end Frank Cross, the world's biggest scrooge and non-believer, tells us that it's the fun, the determination to make a difference, the easiness of changing someone's life and the spirit of the holiday season that matters. You don't have to hate it and if you surrender your pride and just give it a go then maybe the miracle to happen to you too.

For me, Scrooged has been an annual tradition for years and will continue to be so. Not only is it very funny but, in its own way, very important. If you give a little, you can get back a whole lot more. Sounds corny, I know but Christmas is what you make it. And you only get a small amount so it's best to make every one count. This movie is a step in the right direction.

Reviewed on: 25 Dec 2005
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A stunningly cynical Bill Murray finds the true spirits of Christmas visiting him thrice.
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Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Mitch Glazer, Michael O'Donnoghue, based on the novel by Charles Dickens

Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Alfre Woodard, Bob Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Michael J. Pollard, Robert Goulet, Lee Majors, Brian Doyle-Murray

Year: 1988

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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