A Very Murray Christmas, 2015.
Directed by Sofia Coppola.
Starring Bill Murray, George Clooney, Paul Shaffer, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Miley Cyrus, Dimitri Dimitrov, David Johansen, Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Lewis, Julie White, and the band Phoenix.
Bill Murray worries no one will show up to his T.V. show due to a terrible snow-storm in New York City.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for artists working with Netflix are the very few, if any at all, restrictions or limitations on any given project. A Very Murray Christmas reunites the always charming Bill Murray with his Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola for an experimental holiday spirit musical full of celebrity cameos, some playing themselves while others portraying thinly defined characters.
The basic premise (and trust me, there isn’t a whole lot of narrative here) is that Bill Murray is supposed to be putting on a television special, but a raging blizzard in the heart of New York City has snowed everyone into the fairly luxurious hotel they are residing inside. Realizing that no one will witness his show, specifically George Clooney, this greatly saddens Bill Murray, subsequently setting him on a night of rediscovery of the true meaning of Christmas. No surprise there, but it’s heartwarming nonetheless.
The problem with this little one hour feature isn’t the singing or its brief attempt at story; those are all wonderful to listen to thanks to some pleasant voices, and wise selection of tracks that range from classics everyone in the whole world is familiar with (Let it Snow), to more obscure carols like Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin, (complete with creepy yet hilarious facial expressions from George Clooney). It’s also just nearly impossible to dislike Bill Murray or George Clooney, but even talents I normally loathe, cough Miley Cyrus, are surprisingly bearable with their vocals and delivery.
Where things go awry is that the fun all of these major celebrities are having isn’t very infectious to the audience. This is clearly more entertaining for them that it is to us, rendering the whole point somewhat meaningless. Throughout most of the duration of A Very Murray Christmas, you’re left admiring the vocals, but also unfortunately bored. Even a Christmas special needs to invest you into the characters somehow, with the most examples being revered classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman. If anything, I’d rather just have a soundtrack for A Very Murray Christmas.
With so many famous actors on-board to poke fun at themselves, it’s disappointing that there are only a few moments of self-deprecating humor. The highlight of the entire special is either Chris Rock forced against his will to join in on a duet with Bill Murray all out of tune, or Michael Cera taking a scathing shot at last year’s ill received (and in my personal opinion, a boring piece of crap) The Monuments Men. That movie was so uneventful, I actually completely forgot it starred someone as endearing as Bill Murray.
Also peppered throughout the 56 minutes are scenes of Bill Murray attempting to bring a couple back together after getting cold feet about their upcoming marriage, and a very strange dream sequence that if nothing else, is beautifully shot with all white holiday reminiscent backgrounds, and appropriate wardrobes. Regardless, viewers won’t have as much fun as the celebrities, and should probably just stick Scrooged into their Blu-ray players if they’re fancying watching Bill Murray Christmas material. Still, it’s impossible to wholly dislike a harmless special full of Christmas cheer starring someone as beloved as Bill Murray.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook