A riotous opening song and dance sequence take us behind the scenes as the greedy and annoying ghosts of Charles Dickens transform into three undead performers who throw an annual party to scare the person they judge is the biggest party of the year. Well, Scrooge.
At their high-tech headquarters, the ghosts of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell), Christmas Past (Sunita Mani) and Christmas Yet To Come (Tracy Morgan) are discussing their next target.
After threatening to take up singing again, Ferrell’s ghost gets away with it.
His next “perpetrator” will be charismatic public relations consultant guru Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds), who made his fortune off of misinformation.
He is “the perfect mix of Mussolini and Seacrest,” says Present, watching one of his witty performances.
To the ghosts’ horror, Briggs refuses to be intimidated and a conflict of interest arises when Present falls for Briggs’ long-suffering assistant (Octavia Spencer).
The plot is overloaded and the drama lacks heart, but the film’s offbeat charms are hard to resist.
There’s something inherently funny about Ferrell’s earnest but restrained voice and La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul provide an entertaining play on words.
But some very adult language makes for a challenging evening for parents drawn to Ferrell’s casting. Elf is available on rival streaming platforms.
- Spirited, certified 12, on Apple TV+ now
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