; Screenplayooged is an appallingly unfunny comedy, and a vivid illustration of the fact that money can’t buy you laughs. Its stocking spilling with big names and production values galore, this updating of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into the world of cutthroat network television is, one episode apart, able to generate only a few mild chuckles.
Scrooge here is an utterly venal network chief whose taste runs beneath the lowest common denominator, has no friends, sacks any underlings who dare to disagree with him and possesses a personal history based entirely upon having watched TV since infancy. Unfortunately for the film, things ring false from the start because Bill Murray’s cruelty seems very arbitrary, unfunny and ultimately unconvincing.
Murray’s network IBC is preparing to broadcast a live version of A Christmas Carol (with, in a good bit, Buddy Hackett as Scrooge), so it is against this backdrop that Murray’s own journey through his past and toward his personal salvation takes place.
Lunatic taxi driver David Johansen spirits Murray back to his deprived childhood in 1955. By 1968, Murray is working as an office boy when he bumps into the idealistic Karen Allen and takes up with her. Within three years, however, the love of his life has left, and so starts Murray’s ascent from portraying a dog on a kiddies’ show into the top executive suite at the company.
Pic’s comic highlight unquestionably is Carol Kane’s appearance as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Kane dispenses verbal and physical punishment on her victim with sadistic glee.
1988: Nomination: Best Makeup