It’s that time of the year when holiday specials and themed shows begin coming down like snow on a winter’s night. Near the front of the reindeer herd is A Very Murray Christmas, with, as the title suggests, the nearly universally loved Bill Murray and a cast of famous and fabulously talented friends.
Debuting on Netflix on December 4, the Sofia Coppola-directed one-off really should, as my video review above says, have the words “featuring Miley Cyrus” in bright lights. Because, even though she only shows up for a couple of tunes in the fantasy sequence second half of the meta-Murray show, the former Hannah Montana star and current Flaming Lips collaborator delivers a knock-’em-dead pipes-to-kill-for performance here.
'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Review: Netflix Series Wonderfully Dark & Villainous
To open the real present under this tree: Come for the headliner and a bit of fun, stay for Cyrus and a voice that could put any Scrooge in the Christmas spirit.
Co-written by Murray, Coppola and Murray’s Rock The Kasbah scribe Mitch Glazer, the kind of 2-in-1 show starts slow, with Murray playing himself hosting a disastrous live Christmas special that gets deep-sixed due to a huge snowstorm hitting New York City. With Paul Shaffer as Murray’s musical sideman, this part of the show feels a lot like the Nick the Lounge Singer character Murray played during his Saturday Night Live years. Like any good variety show, as is the case here, there are a ton of tunes and cameos from Maya Rudolph, New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, Michael Cera, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman and a very reluctant Chris Rock among those showing up.
However, once Murray Christmas moves to the more traditional soundstage setup of white pianos, fake snow, showgirls, George Clooney (who plays a very fun, funky role in one song) and Ms. Cyrus coming in on a Santa sleigh in a holiday cocktail dress – well, that’s when the lights come on, so to speak.
So, check out my video review above and tell us what you think.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.