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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Frank learns some valuable lessons about what is important in life. The humor focuses on the shallowness, greed, and sensation of commercial television.
Positive Role Models
Frank Cross/Ebeneezer Scrooge does indeed revert to being a nice guy, regretful of the bad choices he's made. Minorities are represented by Frank's hardworking black secretary (and her mute son) among the stand-ins for Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoonish gun violence, as a disgruntled, drunken employee goes crazy with a rifle. Frank shoots a spirit, causing puffs of dust and mice to exit the wounds. Machine-gun bullets, incendiaries, and explosions at the North Pole, in a parody of an action-hero Christmas show. One rotting, zombie-style ghost with detachable eyes and other body parts, including an arm that snaps off creakily. Frank is kicked in the crotch, tossed around, dropped out a window, and generally bullied by ghosts. Peripheral characters hit by falling props and stage sets. In hallucinatory visions a man catches fire. Another character is found frozen to death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Non-explicit flashback scene of heroine Clair in a bathtub, with the attendant revelation that she and Frank lived together (and discuss the Kama Sutra together) without benefit of marriage. A busty beauty on a Christmas TV show, with comments about being able to see her nipples. Reference to prostitution, AKA "paying for women," and a double-entendre gag about "beaver." A very mild homosexual innuendo.
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"Damn," "goddamned," "bitch," "hell," the s-word, "butt," "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Tab soda drink shown. Real-life products and entertainment icons mentioned, including Ginzu knives, Ovaltine, The Six Million Dollar Man, "Little House on the Prairie," "Gilligan's Island," etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol in abundance, in restaurants and at banquets. A ghost cabbie drinks and drives. Heavy executive-boardroom drinking (on which Frank blames a lot of his ghost visions). Mention of drug problems and cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this horror-comedy takeoff on Charles Dickens has strong language, violence (bloodless, even with loads of ammunition spent), some sex talk (but nothing really shown), and drinking. Some disturbing imagery for the very young includes a dusty ghost of the decayed-zombie variety and a tall, creepy, skeletal Ghost of Christmas Future. Jokes about the Kama Sutra and its positions will almost certainly lead to embarrassing questions from young children. Kids will likely need a lot of explanation for the dated cultural references (Spago restaurant, Mary Lou Retton, the Six Million Dollar Man, etc.). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
SCROOGED is a head-on crash of two family faves, A Christmas Carol and Ghostbusters, neither one quite winning out. Some early SNL folk worked on it -- Bill Murray most obviously, but also writer Michael O'Donahue, whose style of humor was often brutally dark. It's a strange, mood-swingy blend of mistletoe and graveyard mold that doesn't hang together gracefully. A good comedy-fantasy with some heart for the holidays may repose here, but the movie is heavily-tinseled by expensive production values, epic gags, and special effects that tend to go against Dickens' poignancy. The script eagerly does literal yuppie-bashing, as Frank Cross is physically pummeled and tortured; even with isolated genius moments (Christmas Past is a Yellow Cabbie in a time-travel taxi), you feel this property is exactly the sort of gaudy and violent entertainment Frank Cross would air at Christmas. Murray himself, at his best underplaying, mugs hysterically. Kids might like that, but when he unintelligibly impersonates Welsh actor Richard Burton or quotes the plant from Little Shop of Horrors, it's funny stand-up but don't fit the character well.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.