Monday Mystery Movie: ‘Spirited’ missed the mark for a Gen Z Christmas film

spirited movie
Photo courtesy of Apple TV

Apple TV’s newest Christmas film, “Spirited,” is a desperate attempt to produce a film curated for Gen Z viewers, and it misses its mark completely.

Once again, Regal Cinemas brought back its $5 Monday Mystery Movie on Nov 7. to give viewers a chance to have a sneak peek at an unreleased film.

After my luck with the last showing, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” I knew I had to rejoin the fun and see another surprise film. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

The film shown to audiences was the upcoming Christmas movie, “Spirited.” This movie has a star-studded cast including Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds and Octavia Spencer, and follows the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) as he tries to redeem the soul of an entitled and out-of-touch Clint Briggs (Reynolds). 

In this movie, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future choose someone each year who’s in need of a “reality check.” Then, after a year of research on the candidate, they send the three ghosts to, what I call, “pull a Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve. In the movie, this process is specifically called a “haunting.”

If you’re thinking, “the plot of this movie doesn’t seem too bad,” then we were in the same boat. I thought this film had some potential to be a new holiday favorite; that was, until I continued watching. 

Within the first 20 minutes of the film, we get about three separate musical numbers, most of which come with a complete and overdone dance number.

That’s right, “Spirited” is a musical, and if that’s not your jam, then I highly recommend you stay far away from this film as there seemed to be someone breaking out into a mediocre song every five minutes.

If you are a musical lover, there is still hope! Many members of the audience were humming and swaying along to the melodies and I even heard someone behind me say they couldn’t wait for the soundtrack to be released.

Clint Briggs (Reynolds) is chosen as this year’s candidate by the ghosts of Christmas after Present begs his colleagues to choose him, even though he’s branded as “unredeemable.” The team soon goes into full work mode preparing the past, present and future “sets” Clint will be shown on Christmas Eve.

There are so many different themes and side plots that the original quest gets lost throughout the story line. 

We see a theme of Present wanting to retire and go back to live as a human on earth, Present trying to find a “nice gal,” a plot twist about Present’s past, an uncooperative Clint and a haunting that goes wrong in every way possible. And the worst part? It’s all predictable. 

Ferrell and Reynolds proved once again that their acting is limited to one type of character, and that they’ll continue to be cast in those types of roles. 

Ferrell plays a clueless and sensitive character, just like he did in “Elf,” “Step Brothers” and “Daddy’s Home.” Reynolds plays a jerk who needs a major reality check, similar to his roles in “Just Friends,” “Deadpool” and “The Change-Up.”

spirited movie
[Ryan Reynolds stars in the Apple TV’s newest Christmas film “Spirited.”]
Photo courtesy of Apple TV

Now that’s not to say they’re not great actors or those films aren’t good. I love both actors and all of those films, but it just goes to show there is little versatility in these actors’ performances. 

The most confusing aspect of this movie is its rating and content. The film is rated PG-13 for language, suggestive material, and thematic elements. This movie is the most non-Christmas Christmas movie I have ever seen.

I would recommend abiding by the age suggestion and keeping this away from young children, as they do push the boundaries of the rating by delivering suggestive jokes constantly, including multiple scenes where the Ghost of Christmas Past talks about her sexual encounters with Clint.

I see what the writers and directors were going for. It’s common knowledge that most adults love Reynolds for his humor and good looks, but did we really need to hear about it in a Christmas movie? No. No, we didn’t.

This film felt like one big try-hard attempt to create a relevant and “hip” Christmas film for Gen-Z, as there were endless references to current pop culture and modern-day events like the pandemic, “Karens,” a clip from a Jimmy Fallon episode and a mention of scheduling beef between Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran. 

Unfortunately for Apple TV, almost all of the references made in the film come off as cringy and half-witted, and instead of being a film for the Gen-Z viewer, this film is targeted towards one extremely specific group: Millennial theater kids. 

So much of this film, specifically the musical numbers, felt forced and unnatural. It almost feels like the director was holding the actors against their will and forcing them to perform. 

At several points in the film, the characters reference how the movie is a rip-off or parody of the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.” And that’s exactly what this movie is, a rip-off. 

If the film would’ve stuck to the classic plot of “A Christmas Carol,” added a more modern spin and left it at that, then maybe there would have been hope for this film. But because the directors tried to jam in so many different excursions and musical numbers, viewers just get lost in the chaos.

The humor in the film is its one redeemable quality. As much as I want to hate the cheesy jokes, I can’t deny that this movie was absolutely hilarious. The humor woven throughout this is perfectly catered to the inappropriate and immature 13-year-old boy inside us all. Unfortunately, some of these jokes interrupted scenes that were meant to be emotional and heartfelt. 

Unfortunately, I cannot say I recommend this film. I thought it was a waste of an evening and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But if you’re willing to sit through an absurd amount of musical numbers, a million different side-quests and a predictable plot, the humor in this film is guaranteed to make viewers of any age laugh. 

“Spirited” was released on Apple TV+ on Nov. 18.

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