SCROOGED is a Richard Donner production, and has that sensibility–sharp, witty and a little naughty. SCROOGED is not fit for all ages. My nieces, for example, won’t be watching it for a few more years. The PG-13 is mostly because of language, but there is some adult comedy that would take some explaining.
The meta references to popular culture are interesting, especially 22 years later. I get them (I was an adult when this movie came out), but don’t know if the next generation will. They mostly center around the “live” TV version that is being planned for Christmas Eve. It’s hard to explain why Buddy Hackett was funny as Scrooge, but the show itself is so absurd that it all works. The Solid Gold Dancers have cleavage issues. They are trying to put antlers on mice. Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim may take some explaining, but happily our culture produces lots of current fill ins. And besides, funny is funny, and Bill Murray is funny.
I contend that A CHRISTMAS CAROL transcends time, and this movie proves it. Because Scrooge’s journey (Francis Cross in this case) is the same–Jacob and the three spirits all show up. Ignorance and Want live with the Ghost of Christmas yet to come (OK, that’s wrong), but they are there. Bob Cratchit is played by two characters–Bobcat Goldthwait and Alfre Woodard. The meta references to how schlocky some versions are helps reinforce the power of the story itself, and yet make it modern. Just watch the beginning of the movie.
Come on. That is funny. And yet…I defy anyone not to wipe a tear away when Nicholas Cooley says “God Bless Us Everyone” at the end of the movie. And in this version Scrooge and Belle end up together (“its like landing a marlin”) and that is always good.