Film and Plot Synopsis
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. From Director Sean Anders (“Daddy’s Home,” “Instant Family”), written by Sean Anders and John Morris, with original songs by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”) and production numbers choreographed by Chloe Arnold (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”), this modern retelling is a sweet and spicy holiday treat. (Courtesy of Apple TV+)
‘Spirited’ Movie Summary
The ghosts’ research has centered on Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds), a renowned, controversial media consultant whose most recent campaign is against artificial Christmas trees. Briggs’ specialty is running negative attack ads and running offensive click bait on social media. Marley insists that Briggs is unredeemable and beyond saving. However, Present believes that Briggs’ redemption could have a ripple effect and make him a force for positive change in humanity. Marley gives into Present’s desire to redeem Briggs after Present reminds Marley that he too was once considered unredeemable. The Ghosts conduct intensive research to prepare for their haunt.
As Christmas approaches, the team of Ghosts visit Briggs’ headquarters. They observe Briggs encouraging his niece Wren (Marlow Barkley), who is running for class president, to post an unflattering video of her opponent Joshua. Briggs has his assistant Kimberly (Octavia Spencer) find the video. Kimberly feels guilty for her actions of taking down a child and almost quits but decides to stay. The Ghosts find their mission complicated when Kimberly is unexpectedly able to see Present, who finds himself attracted to her.
The haunting begins as planned but quickly goes awry when Briggs repeatedly interrupts Marley and seduces Past during her haunt. Present decides to begin his haunt early and takes over Briggs’ attempted redemption. Briggs is no better with Present and dismisses the eager Ghost. Briggs resists his past memories as trivial and unimportant, particularly those of his ex-girlfriend Nora (Aimee Carrero), who ultimately ended their relationship due to Briggs’ selfishness. Briggs also avoids his memories of his older sister Carrie (Andrea Anders), Wren’s mother who died of cancer. Present decides to take a different approach and takes Briggs back to his own past where Present reveals that he was once the infamous and once considered unredeemable Ebenezer Scrooge. Marley disapproves of Present’s unusual approach and orders Present to follow the original plan.
Present switches tactics again and takes Briggs to see present day Nora. Present shows Nora happily celebrating Christmas with her husband and children. However, Briggs ascertains that Present’s fixation on family reveals his own desires for a happy family life with Kimberly. Present dismisses the insinuation and instead shows Briggs Joshua’s horrified reaction to Wren’s reposting of his video. Eventually, Present finally gets Briggs to relive his most painful memory – Carrie’s deathbed request of him to raise Wren, a responsibility that he ultimately passed onto his younger brother Owen (Joe Tippett).
So persuasive! Kinda makes you want to push an old lady down a flight of stairs. Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell)
As Present’s time with Briggs comes to end, Briggs forces Present to confront his own fears about whether he was truly redeemed, as Scrooge died only three weeks after his encounter with the Ghosts. Briggs convinces Present to take retirement and give life on Earth another try. Not long after, Briggs and Present wake up in Briggs’ apartment. Present takes advantage of his new mortality and asks Kimberly out on a date. Meanwhile, Briggs begins his encounter with Yet-To-Come and shown glimpses of his own future, including Joshua’s suicide after Wren’s video utterly destroys his reputation.
Once back on Earth, a shaken Briggs races to stop his niece from posting the video. Just as he catches up to her, Kimberly stops him and reveals that she had already convinced Wren not to post the video. Immediately afterwards Kimberly quits her job with Briggs. Present is joyous believing that the Ghosts have succeeded with another redemption. However, he is confused when Briggs does not receive his congratulations from the spirit crew. Briggs explains that he has not been redeemed and that he was only trying to rectify a mistake. Briggs tells Present that life is still worth living and offers his friendship to Present despite refusing to be redeemed.
A despondent Present is convinced that he is unredeemable and jumps in front of an oncoming bus so that he can return to his old job in the afterlife. Surprisingly, Briggs shoves Present out of the way at the last minute. Suddenly, time freezes, and the spirits arrive to congratulate Briggs for achieving his redemption. Briggs accepts his redemption, but when the Ghosts unfreeze time, the bus hits and kills Briggs. Carrie arrives to lead her brother into the afterlife, and while Briggs is excited to see his sister again, he is reluctant to leave Present behind. Briggs approaches Marley with a proposal.
Several years later, Briggs has assumed the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present and begun his own romantic relationship with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Briggs has expanded the redemption program to include other holidays other than Christmas. This way, the Ghost team can take on more perps every year. Briggs also brings his sister onboard as part of the staff. Briggs also regularly visits Present, now married to Kimberly and father of two children. Briggs and Present remain friends and continue to work together to redeem souls. Wren has grown up and has been accepted into a masters program at Stanford.
In a post-credit scene, the hotel manager from the Christmas tree convention seen at the beginning of the film is revealed to be the next perp chosen for redemption.