Spirited – The DVDfever Review – Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds – Apple TV+

Spirited Spirited is a new Apple TV+ Christmas movie which begins with a Ms. Blansky (Rose Byrne in a cameo) being given short shrift by the Grim Reaper, given her recent behaviour in the neighbourhood. However, after effectively having been through the ‘George Bailey’ process from It’s a Wonderful Life, she’s now like a normal human being and, thus, up in the afterlife, she goes into the Hall of the Redeemed.

Will Ferrell (The Shrink Next Door) – as The Ghost of Christmas Present – has worked there for 46 seasons, so has earned the right to go back on Earth and live a normal life again, stating “last time I died, they didn’t have indoor plumbing“. Oh, and there’s singing “because the afterlife is a musical”.

Marley has an idea of who Will (as I may as well refer to him) should haunt next, but he chances upon arrogant businessman Clint Briggs (Ryan ReynoldsThe Adam Project), who hasn’t even got time for his niece, following his sister’s tragic death. Once approved, Will and the other staff are given a full year of preparation on each baddie to be (hopefully) redeemed, and once they meet, it does largely head down a standard A Christmas Carol path, being fairly straight-forward and doing exactly what it says on the tin, with Clint trying to escape the truth about who he’s become.

But then Spirited isn’t trying to be too different, apart from the occasional tweak including Will harbouring a secret from his past.

There’s some humour, albeit not ‘laugh out loud’ funny, such as when Will’s approached by a colleague by surprise, “Oh, Margot, I was just avoiding you(!)”

Plus, he meets Clint’s assistant Kimberly (Octavia SpencerEncounter) at one point, and the film immediately bursts into Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, used not only originally in Say Anything, but with that scene also spoofed by Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2.

With the addition of a 19th Century singalong, “Good Afternoon”, which looks like something from a Fred Astaire movie, Spirited does get a bit too sickly sweet, the longer it goes on, but if you’re the Christmassy type who dines out on this sort of film and wants it to go on and on, then you’ll be well-served. That said, the Christmas Has Just Begun song is catchy, even for me.

And in a film which goes on way too long, the CGI is reasonable, but you can spot the joins fairly often, so I’d be interested to know what the budget is for this film.

Oh, and I did also think I spotted Mel Gibson as one of the afterlife staff, but on closer inspection, it wasn’t him.

There is also a post-credits scene:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Spirited is on Apple TV+ from Friday November 18th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Spirited – Official Trailer – Apple TV+

Detailed specs:

Running time: 127 minutes
Release date: November 18th 2022
Studio: Apple TV+
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Rating: 5/10

Director: Sean Anders
Producers: Sean Anders, George Dewey, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, David Koplan, John Morris
Screenplay: Sean Anders, John Morris
Music: Dominic Lewis

The Ghost of Christmas Present: Will Ferrell
Clint Briggs: Ryan Reynolds
Kimberly: Octavia Spencer
Marley: Patrick Page
The Ghost of Christmas Past: Sunita Mani
The Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come: Loren Woods
Voice of The Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come: Tracy Morgan
Owen: Joe Tippett
Wren / Young Carrie: Marlow Barkley
Nora: Aimee Carrero
Carrie: Andrea Anders
Wendy: Jen Tullock
Mr. Bryan: Adam Grupper
Ms. Blansky: Rose Byrne
Neighbor Dad: Matt Cardenes
Neighbor Mom / Costume Ghost #1: Ava Bernstine-Mitchell
Neighbor Girl: Charlene Anders
Harlan: Naheem Garcia
Security Ghost: Jayme Rae Dailey
8-Year-Old Clint: Nico Tirozzi
Senator: Chloe Arnold
1800s London Boy: Ian Dolley
1800s Street Vendor: Alison Weller
Zoe: Candice Daniels
Gabe: Darrion Gallegos
Charlie: Woody Fu
Josh Hubbins: Maximillian Piazza
Herself: Judi Dench
Himself: Jimmy Fallon
Old Clint: Thomas P Gillis