Francis Xavier Cross is a cynical, mean spirited television executive, he treats his loyal assistant with contempt. He just sacked a member of staff on Christmas Eve for simply disagreeing with him, and he's alienated himself from his brother who still insists on inviting Frank to Christmas dinner despite him refusing to go every year. However, Frank is forced to learn the true meaning of Christmas when he's visited by three ghosts.Written by
After Frank Cross wakes up in his office after Lew visits him, he drinks some vodka that has a golf ball in it. When he drops the golf ball on his desk, it bounces three times in front of Frank's face. On the second and third bounces, the ball actually goes higher than on its first bounce. Although this is "impossible," it is meant to emphasize the supernatural origins of the ball. Also note that the sound effects correspond with this "supernatural" activity. See more »
All day long, I listen to people give me excuses why they can't work... 'My back hurts,' 'my legs ache,' 'I'm only four!' The sooner he learns life isn't handed to him on a silver platter, the better!
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Starts well, gets a bit sentimental but Murray carries it
Francis Cross is a successful TV executive but at Christmas time he is about as miserable a man as you could wish to meet. Forcing people to work over the holidays and unwilling to think of anyone but himself. As Christmas Eve approaches Francis is visited by his dead boss, warning him to change his ways; when he doesn't he is visited by three ghosts who show him Christmas in the past, present and future.
Each year there are plenty of versions of the classic Christmas Carol story, but this film is consistently one of the better ones. It starts with a great dark comedy that sees some very imaginative gags (The Night The Reindeer Died) as well as Murray given great material. At some point (roughly ghost 2), sentimentality starts to set in and the film doesn't quite have the edge on it that it did. It still works - in fact, ghost 3 is not so much sentimental as really dramatic!
What holds it all together though is a great performance from Murray. He is funny throughout but also does the work to try and hold off the sentimentality of the piece - although it does come through, as one would expect with a Christmas movie! The support cast is good and includes Woodard, Goldthwait, Goulet, Farr and Mitchum. I didn't feel like Kane's Christmas Present really worked and didn't find her funny in the least. While the support cast add to the film, it is almost totally belonging to Bill Murray and the fact that it is so enjoyable is mostly due to him (although not even he can carry off the audience interaction over the end credits).
Overall this is a good Christmas movie - it does give you a nice little festive glow but also has enough cynical edge to keep the syrup at bay for a certain amount of the time. Regardless of everything else, Bill Murray is great in the lead and holds the movie together better than someone else may have been able to.
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