Scrooged – 4 stars
Bill Murray plays the Scrooge character, Frank Cross. Cross, however, is not in finance, but television. A child abandoned to the TV by uncaring parents, Cross has become a holy terror as the head of programming for a major network. His newest achievement is a live broadcast of “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve, with Buddy Hackett as Scrooge. Cross is so cynical and mean he’s ordered the stapling of tiny antlers on to the heads of mice. Soon, the ghosts appear.
This is a zany, funny version of the Dickens tale co-written by SNL alum Michael O’Donoghue (he communicated his loathing of the theatrical version before his death at 54) and directed by Richard Donner (who helmed all the Lethal Weapons and various and assorted dreck). Donner has little skill save for making movies move, and this movie moves. O’ Donoghue’s complaints aside, it’s also often very clever, propelled by Murray’s manic and humorous descent into madness and his joyous redemption. It’s big, messy, all-over-the place, and excessive (which is kind of the point) but great fun.