There have been many takes on the classic holiday tale A Christmas Carol, but probably none so cynical, or ’80s-fantastic, as Scrooged, which is playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Saturday and on Christmas Eve.
A manic and wild-haired Bill Murray stars as miserly TV network president Frank Cross, who is hell-bent on creating a crass live telecast of A Christmas Carol, complete with a somersaulting Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim. Cross’ life is turned upside down one drunken evening when he’s visited by those three pesky ghosts (of Christmas Past, Present and Future) who bring him to face-to-face with the errors of his ways, including letting the love of his life (Karen Allen) get away.
Scrooged is full of weird but funny little nuggets, like when Carol Kane’s fluttering Ghost of Christmas Present smacks Murray around with a toaster, or Murray’s impersonation of Richard Burton. Then there are the cheesy ’80s moments, like the special effects (the Ghost of Christmas Future is a tad Muppet-ish) and the closing group rendition of the movie’s theme song. And what would an ’80s movie be without the screechy Bobcat Goldthwait?
But, then again, it’s because of those moments that this comedy has stuck around to be a Christmas cult favourite.
Scrooged, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-3456. Dec. 22, Dec. 24.