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Spirited review – Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds hit all the wrong notes in Christmas musical

The two make for an awkward double act in a slick but grating song-and-dance spin on A Christmas Carol that will make grinches of us all It’s been almost 20 years since Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau gifted us the unlikely yet enduring Christmas winner Elf, the rare four-quadrant success story that neatly balanced the sweet with the salty. It’s a tricky tightrope that Ferrell’s new festive comedy Spirited precariously wobbles along before almost immediately falling off, a desperate and crudely assembled attempt to recapture that very difficult to capture magic. It comes from Apple, as one of the tech behemoth’s biggest bets to date (at least $75m was spent just on talent), and suitably has the feeling of something created less by real human people and more calculated by artificial intelligence, heavy emphasis on artificial. It’s a plasticky piece of product with the puppyish insistence that it has the power to please us all, frantically trying to tick every box but failing to hit just one. A meta spin on A Christmas Carol that’s also a bromance comedy but mostly an earnest, full-throated musical was never going to be an easy elevator pitch to untangle but it was enough to spark a bidding war with Apple beating out Netflix, Paramount and Warner Bros. Continue reading...

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