Spirited Review: Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell's bromance isn't enough to save this Yuletide misfire

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell try their hands at bringing a Christmas musical reimagining the plot of A Christmas Carol. Read Pinkvilla's review of the film below.

Published on Nov 18, 2022 08:45 AM IST  |  97.4K
Ryan Reynolds Will Ferrell
Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's Spirited releases on November 18 on AppleTV+.

Name: Spirited

Director: Sean Anders

Cast: Ryan Reynolds,Will Ferrell

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Language: English

Streaming Platform: AppleTV+


A modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic story, Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's Spirited follows the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) considering taking on one big soul-changing assignment before retiring and this time he wants to redeem someone who can make a bigger difference in the world compared to a crappy neighbour. He soon encounters Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds), a PR consultant, who has already been dubbed as "unredeemable."Briggs whose career thrives on creating conflicts and getting people to outrage online to help his clients becomes the perfect choice for Present who decides to take him on as his final challenge. Thus follows a musical ride as Present along with Ghost of Christmas Past (Sunita Mani) and Future (Tracy Morgan) try to reform Briggs into a good human being. 


It's impossible to think about Dickens' A Christmas Carol and not talk about Bill Murray's Scrooged, an adaptation that truly dug deep into Dickens' story with dark humour that is unmatchable. Its disquieting nature is probably its biggest selling point and in the case of Spirited, it's the other way around. The film tries hard to be self-aware while also trying to remind us about Christmas being a magical time but unfortunately the musical side of it does go too far. The two-hour film has fewer points to make than it could have and hence it feels like a forcefully stretched ride.

Spirited reimagines the Christmas Eve retribution at the hands of the ghosts of past, present and future to be an annual event that is put together by an organisation that recruits new ghosts as well as the old ones being assigned to their human targets. As we meet Ferrell's Present, he has been changing people into good humans since decades and while retirement would mean he could go back to earth to live a human life himself, he is keen to take on one final major task. In the case of Reynolds, the fast-talking, PR professional isn't someone we haven't seen before. We also meet his right-hand employee Kimberly (Octavia Spencer) who isn't happy with her morally corrupt job but isn't taking the plunge to quit despite her unhappiness. Unfortunately, there's little attention given to Kimberly's character in the film which if more developed would have had a potent story to tell.  Instead, she gets a romantic arc that's far too predictable and unnecessary for the story. While the focus mainly remains on Will and Ryan, Tracy Morgan and Sunita Mani are also grossly underused as they get stuck with characters that aren't fleshed out enough. 

The humour in the film works for the most part, particularly because of the easy bromance between Reynolds and Ferrell who play off each other's energies extremely well. There are also enough jibes taken at Christmas tales and films and sometimes the meta nature of it all seems overused. In terms of the musical side of things, while Reynolds and Ferrell do a decent job at delivering their numbers, it's Octavia Spencer who not only gets the best song but also the one who manages to showcase the best vocal range among the trio.

Plus Points:

The thing about holiday films is that some of them must be enjoyed without taking them too seriously. The job of Spirited in that sense is to merely get you in the Christmas spirit while also throwing reminders of the messed up world we live in where people are fighting Twitter wars over Christmas trees. In terms of creating a spectacle with flashy outfits, tap-dancing numbers and jokes that will make you chuckle every once in a while, Spirited partly delivers because of its lead cast. 

Minus Points:

The thing about Spirited that's most confusing is the fact that it never truly finds a balance in between being a Christmas musical and a good old Yuletide romp. The musical part of the film doesn't fit properly as there are moments when we end up forgetting that the film is intended to be a Christmas musical. There's also no clarity on whether the film is aimed at family audiences completely given that there are some bits of humour that don't work in the kid-friendly zone. 


  • Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's bromance
  • Octavia Spencer's musical number 
  •  Script's self-aware humour 


Spirited doesn't deliver what fully what it promises on paper. The idea that Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds could have cooked up a storm with a Christmas musical given their genius talents, the film seems a letdown. Unlike Ferrell's Elf, this film isn't a smoothly enjoyable ride all through. Stunted character development and a script that seemingly pulls itself in all directions possibly cause this film to underwhelm more than lift up or Christmas spirits. 

ALSO READ: Ryan Reynolds hopes to be a girl dad again with his fourth baby with Blake Lively; Here's why

Credits: Pinkvilla, AppleTV+

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