Bill Murray stars in A Very Murray Christmas.
Bill Murray stars in A Very Murray Christmas. Photo Ali Goldsteinnetflix

Murray Christmas to all

FORGET Frosty, Rudolph and the Grinch, perhaps Bill Murray is all you need for Christmas.

The actor and all-round cool man rounds up an all-star cast for an evening of music, mischief and bar room camaraderie in an irreverent twist on holiday variety shows.

Sofia Coppola's A Very Murray Christmas plays on the nostalgia of those old-school TV specials with a heavy dose of Lost In Translation-style self-pity.

Only someone like Murray, with his deadpan delivery, could make the combination of a tuxedo and a reindeer antler headband look remotely cool.

He opens the special singing Dean Martin's Christmas Blues with Paul Shaffer on piano. It's a nice, simple moment before pushy TV producers (Amy Poehler and Julie White) arrive to cajole him into hosting a dreaded live TV special.

As a blizzard threatens the broadcast, Chris Rock miraculously shows up and is forced into a black turtleneck sweater to sing with Murray in what turns out to be one of the hour-long special's funniest moments.

After a blackout gets Murray off the hook for the broadcast, he joins a cast in the hotel bar for several songs, Maya Rudolph being the standout.

But of course when Murray has one too many shots and passes out, he is transported from the dark bar to a sparkling studio with a 10-piece backing band, dancers and special guests George Clooney and Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus's voice sounds great, while Clooney takes home the award for creepiest cameo by popping out from behind trees to repeatedly sing the line "Santa Clause wants some lovin".

You could call this an anti-Christmas special and perhaps that's the point. There's not much of a storyline as Murray moves from vignette to vignette, managing to be sardonic, schmaltzy and sweet in equal measure.

It's not likely to become a holiday viewing staple, but undoubtedly some fans will be tickled.

A Very Murray Christmas is on Netflix now.


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