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Legacy Review

Rich Little’s Christmas Carol (1978)

What did I just watch?

Imagine a one-man Christmas Carol show that hits all of the expected beats and themes. Except every character is a half-baked celebrity impersonation, and the tone is a mediocre ’70s sitcom with a constant laugh track in the back.

“Richard Nixon” plays Marley; “Inspector Clouseau” plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come; “Johnny Carson” plays nephew Fred. “WC Fields” plays Scrooge, mostly for the sake of a bunch of alcoholism jokes. I’m not making this up.

Seriously, how the hell does this exist?

Even if the concept itself had much merit (it doesn’t), it’s certainly dragged out longer than it needs to be with impersonations that often don’t strain for a joke beyond “my voice and mannerisms vaguely resemble a person you recognize.” I’m sure Little worked hard on his money-making impersonations, but they’re really not that impressive or funny — and a solid half of them would have been outdated even in 1978.

I give the movie an escape from the lowest possible rating because of four or so moments that made me smile (not quite laugh), in addition to my bewildered astonishment at its very existence. Plus, it occasionally verges into so-bad-it’s-good territory.

This is easily the worst Christmas Carol I’ve seen, and also probably the weirdest.

Is It Good?

Not Good (2/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.


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