Poster for Spirited, featuring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds posing in Christmas costumes


Title: Spirited
Released: 2022

Fix: Holiday Musicals, A Christmas Carol Retellings, OK Singers and Dancers Putting on a Much More Than OK Show, Unexpected Endings
Platforms: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ Summary: 

Imagine Charles Dickens’ heartwarming tale of a scrooge visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve—but funnier. And with Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, and Octavia Spencer. Also, huge musical numbers. Okay, we’re asking a lot. Maybe just watch the trailer?

What’s Actually Going On In Santa’s Workshop:

Having worked for centuries to redeem one problematic human per year, the Ghost of Christmas Present has found his White Whale: a supposedly unredeemable man named Clint Briggs who is surprisingly self-aware and doesn’t really care that he’s basically evil. Present thinks he can redeem Clint before “retiring” back to the land of the living for another chance at life, but Clint has other plans.

Naughty or Nice List:

Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds as Present and Clint Briggs in Spirited

Will Ferrell as Present and Ryan Reynolds as Clint Briggs

As the Ghost of Christmas Present, Ferrell tones down his typical goofy antics a notch or two and kicks up the earnestness. He’s pretty adorable in the role, and his chemistry with his character’s love interest is believable and sweet. Reynolds, on the other hand, is pretty perfect as Clint; he is maybe a little too good at the “hot but awful” kind of role. That said, his character’s growth is surprisingly nuanced … but I don’t want to say too much, or I’ll spoil the plot of the whole movie.

Also: Neither have all that good of voices, but they really sell it, you know? I applaud that.

Verdict: Naughty? No, Nice? No, Naughty?

Octavia Spencer as Kimberly in Spirited

Octavia Spencer as Kimberly

Octavia is a gem, and she’s absolutely delightful in her role as Kimberly, Clint’s second-in-command and maybe the only person at their company who actually listens to their conscience. Her voice is lovely and unique, and her musical numbers kinda stole the show from the gents.

Verdict: Nice (But Needs to Have More Confidence in That)

Sleigh-Sharing Capability: Good Even for (Musical) Scrooges

I love musicals. And my husband loves Ryan Reynolds. But I wasn’t sure if he would enjoy Ryan in a musical, so I wasn’t sure how Spirited would go over when I chose it for our weekly movie night. When it ended and we were deciding on how to rate it—we rate every movie from 1 to 5—he surprised me with a high rating, saying that it was probably his favorite holiday movie ever. (“Even above Die Hard?” I asked with a gasp.) It’s a Christmas miracle!

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Another Pint for Me Friend, Extra Warm

When in Old Timey England … Spirited is already a shot of something warm straight to the heart, but if you’re in the mood for a holiday beverage of an adult sort, I think anything that errs on the side of A Christmas Carol vibes would be a perfect pairing. Spiced mead? Mulled cider? Questionably cloudy tap water?

Did It Get Me In The Christmas Spirit?: Good Afternoon!

I’ve listened to the Spirited soundtrack multiple times since watching the movie and have added it to my mental list of excellent holiday albums along with *NSYNC’s Home for Christmas and A Christmas Together by John Denver and the Muppets (the classic of all classics). The movie, too, is one that I can see our family watching every time the holiday season rolls around from here on out. It’s definitely a movie that both surprises and delights—Apple fans will get that reference—and is a truly great way to spend a couple of hours in front of a roaring fire lit by the lights of your Christmas tree or whatever sparkly bit of holiday you celebrate.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.