Scrooged (1988): written by Michael O’Donoghue and Mitch Glazer; directed by Richard Donner; starring Bill Murray (Frank Cross), Karen Allen (Claire Phillips), Bobcat Goldthwait (Eliot Loudermilk), David Johansen (Ghost of Christmas Past), Carol Kane (Ghost of Christmas Present), and Alfre Woodard (Grace Cooley): Bill Murray is on record as being displeased with the choice and work of Director Richard Donner. And he’s right. Donner wasn’t a comic director. How did he get this assignment?
The best parts of Scrooged lie in the performances and a sharp script by Michael O’Donoghue and Mitch Glazer, the former a legendarily bleak original member of the Saturday Night Live writing team. But Murray’s criticism — that all Donner knew how to do in comedies was get everyone to ‘go’ louder and louder — is valid.
Putting the twitchy, adenoidal Bobcat Goldthwait in a role that called for finesse and an ability to generate sympathy really didn’t help either. Karen Allen is welcome as always as the lost love of Murray’s Scrooge-like TV executive, and Carol Kane also does some violently funny slapstick. Lightly recommended, for it could have been so much better with a lighter, funnier hand on the helm.