What is a nice change of pace is Richard Donner's directing skills. The story execution is fairly predictable but there are some various changes to the script that make it feel like effort was put in to make sure it doesn't feel like an exact copy. Much of this is due to the supporting cast being so helpful in their comedic timing and how they knock up Murray's character. John Forsythe as Cross' dead business partner has possibly the best introduction than any other ghost who visits him. David Johansen as the taxi driving ghost of Christmas past is the second best character with his no-cares given attitude. Perhaps the ghost who gets the cutest and most violent personality is Carol Kane as the ghost of Christmas present. There's also characters played by Karen Allen (Cross' ex), Bobcat Goldthwait (the voice of XL from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000)), Robert Mitchum, Michael J. Pollard and Alfre Woodard playing a Bob Cratchet-like role. Then there's Bill Murray who is surprisingly the exact opposite.
It's not that he is unfunny because there are occasional scenes that do produce a laugh, but the problem is he produces the least amount. Yes, Cross is supposed to be unfeeling but even unfeeling characters can have some kind of charm; but Murray doesn't pull it off. It's more obnoxious than charming. Another problem in the script is sometimes the story will spin off the main focus from Cross' development as a character and just wonder back into his reality to do whatever. It's distracting. Back to positives though, a visual element that works in this films favor are the special / practical effects. The special makeup effects creator / designers behind those scenes were Thomas R. Burman and Bari Dreiband-Burman (The Goonies (1985)& Die Hard 2 (1990)). There's also special effects supervisor Eric Brevig (Total Recall (1990), Hook (1991) and Men in Black (1997)) who shows that even before big Hollywood blockbusters he still had the talent needed to make things look good.
|Karen Allen ^_^|
This holiday comedy does have some unique mutations with its direction in the script, but it also suffers from its main lead (Bill Murray) not being that funny and the main story sometimes jumping around. Thankfully the camerawork is able, the creature effects are well crafted, the music (although not abundant) is appropriate and the supporting cast adding to the laughs.
Points Earned --> 6:10