The first reviews are in for Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds' Spirited — and it sounds like a fitting gift for Christmas Present. The holiday musical comedy is being heralded as a fresh and fun spin on A Christmas Carol, the oft-told tale about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge's life-changing encounter with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. In a modern and musical twist on the 1843 Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol is told from the perspective of the ghosts for the first time. According to early reviews, the spirited musical is giving critics that "Christmas Morning Feeling."
Read some of the first Spirited reviews below, and visit our guide for everything you need to know about how to watch Spirited:
Chicago Sun Times: "Even though this is 'A Christmas Carol' told from a different angle, it's still 'A Christmas Carol.' With Ferrell and Reynolds striking just the right combination of hipster comedy with genuine sincerity, and the musical numbers working as parody but also toe-tapping entertainment, 'Spirited' is … that's right … a big cup of holiday cheer for the whole family."
Los Angeles Times: "'Spirited,' the umpteenth screen incarnation of Charles Dickens' evergreen 'A Christmas Carol,' is such an amusing, buoyant and good-natured entertainment that it's not hard to forgive this flashy musical-comedy-fantasy's missteps. Grinchy viewers, however, may sing a different tune."
The Only Critic: "'Spirited' puts a fresh spin on 'A Christmas Carol,' delivering exceptional tunes ('Christmas Morning Feeling' is a certified bop) and gives Ferrell and Reynolds their most memorable live-action comedy in years."
San Francisco Chronicle: "'Spirited' is a less than mediocre holiday movie until people start singing. Then it gets worse. Inspired by 'A Christmas Carol' and set in modern times, it fails in virtually all the ways a Christmas musical can fail. There's no Christmas spirit and the songs are bad ... 'Spirited' was never going to be any good, but it would have been slightly better — and a change of pace — if Reynolds and Ferrell had switched roles."
The Associated Press: "Though 'Spirited' comes up short as a musical, it is still pretty enjoyable. Perhaps that's because it is just so stuffed with everything else: If one part doesn't totally work, there's plenty else in the four-quadrant buffet to sample. In addition to the committed leads, there are comedy gems from Christmas Past (Sunita Mani), Christmas Yet-to-Come (Loren Woods with Tracy Morgan's voice), Pasek and Paul's easily digestible pop ballads and Octavia Spencer's lovely singing voice."
The New York Times: "The movie unwisely banks on the marketability of its two lead characters, whose merciless mugging and strong-armed repartee makes for humor as hammy as the honey-glazed cornerstone of a holiday feast. The film also muscles in references to fake news, Twitter trolls and cancel culture (along with a pandemic joke), obnoxiously pointing out its wisecracks as it makes them as though the movie's meta-awareness absolves it of its tedious comedy — but you can't have your fruit cake and eat it too."
AV Club: "While Spirited is self-conscious about its 127-minute length (there's the seemingly now standard modern musical device of having one character exasperated by song and dance, and trying to cut others off), its problems are less about that, and more about really locking in the conflict and battle between Clint and Present, who are rather fitfully at odds. Spirited exists in a bit of a gray zone where Reynolds and Ferrell's characters aren't quite fully antagonistic, nor are they frenemies. As a result, its editorial pivot points sometimes feel strained. One moment that really connects will at times give way to another that feels forced. Still, there are plenty of quite good patches in Spirited, and even some fleeting moments when it touches greatness."
Where to Watch Spirited Online for Free
An Apple TV Plus subscription is required to watch Spirited on the service, but there's no additional fee for subscribers to stream Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds' new movie. First-time subscribers can watch Spirited for free with Apple TV+'s 7-day trial, which costs $6.99 per month after the first week.
Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app and dozens of app-supported devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Android TV streaming devices and TVs, XBox and Playstation consoles, Roku, Comcast Xfinity, and Chromecast with Google TV.
What Is Spirited About?
Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present and future. For the first time, A Christmas Carol is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale.
Spirited Movie Cast: Who Else Is in Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's Christmas Movie?
Along with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, the Spirited cast includes Octavia Spencer (The Help), Sunita Mani (GLOW), Patrick Page (Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical), and Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avalor).
Spirited is in select theaters November 11th and streaming on Apple TV+ on November 18th.