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A Very Murray Christmas

July 22, 2017

A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
Director: Sofia Coppola
Actors: Bill Murray, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus

bill-murray-christmas-1-300x150.jpg (300×150)

Synopsis: A laconic Bill Murray runs the gauntlet of PR types trying to make him do a very commercial Christmas special…

Review: Presenting almost exactly the same conceit as Sofia Coppola’s earlier work, Lost in Translation, yet without that film’s masterly ability to capture that transitory air of epiphany one often encounters on fleeting foreign travels, A Very Murray Christmas‘s success is more or less predicated on the degree to which the viewer finds the persona of Bill Murray innately charming.

The loose set-up of A Very Murray Christmas uncannily echoes Lost in Translation, with a jaded, put-upon Murray being harassed by PR types who need him to conform to the stereotype of the Christmas special format he’s about to do, when Murray would rather idle around with an ideal cast of pals and celebrities (including the likes of George Clooney and Miley Cyrus who do eventually appear in Murray’s drink-inspired reverie).

Outside of that, it’s pretty indulgent, unexceptional fare. The whole idea of Bill Murray is that he’s funny when he’s not trying to be, and that his persona works best when scored against substantial narratives or absurd scenarios. Here, there are one or two inspired moments amid the film’s overall aimlessness and raggedness: Murray and Chris Rock’s duet to “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is amusingly filmed by Coppola (the only time you’re aware that this is a work by her) through a pastiche of the old-school music video fad for cheesy fades, dissolves and split screens. That aside, there’s really nothing else of worth save for the interesting footnote that Maya Rudolph belts out her song amazingly well, which is a reminder that she’s actually the daughter of the late soul singer, Minnie Riperton. (July 2017)

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