A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, February 23rd, 2020  

A Very Murray Christmas

Netflix

Dec 06, 2015 Web Exclusive
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After becoming one of the premier comic actors of the 1980 and 1990s, Bill Murray reinvented himself in the late '90s as a great dramatic actor in films such as 1998's Rushmore, 2003's Lost in Translation, and 2005's Broken Flowers. He's also known as someone with the "common touch" since, for example, he appeared all over restaurants and bars in Philadelphia for several days when he was in town for his son's wedding back in September. He has little left to prove at this point, so the initial response to the idea of him hosting an hour-long Christmas special is "why not?" However, his Rolodex includes stars from Hollywood and the world of music such as George Clooney, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Lewis, Phoenix, and Sofia Coppola (who also directed this, as well as Lost in Translation) just to name a few. That makes this pretty much a must-watch. So how is it? Well, odd, but in a career full of twists and turns, it's useful to expect the unexpected from Murray. Coppola's direction and Murray's presence as well as its setting, the swanky Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, ensure that this feels sort of like Lost in Translation: The Christmas Special with the setting changed from Tokyo to New York. There's something different going on here, though. What semblance of a plot this has revolves around a scenario in which everything is shut down due to a massive snowstorm while even the power goes out. What it's really an excuse for, of course, is lots of eating, drinking, and singing Christmas carols both of the traditional variety as well as more modern Yuletide classics. Highlights? For my money, the funniest scene involves Murray and Rock dueting on "Do You Hear What I Hear," with Rock adding absolutely impeccable comic timing resulting from his very noticeable lack of comfort with even singing in the first place. Rudolph absolutely nails "Christmas (Please Come Home)" and Murray and many other guests (notably Lewis) passing the verses baton-style on "Fairytale of New York" is a nice touch as well, though it should be said that they leave out some of the songs's more profane lyrics. All in all, while not an absolutely great Christmas special since it struggles to find its footing at times plot-wise, it's worth watching for the celebrity cameos and the raucous and at times hilarious singing. (www.netflix.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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