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Spirited's 12 Funniest Moments Ranked

"Spirited," a new holiday comedy from Apple TV+, makes merry use of its witty leads. For example, Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) asks the Ghost of Christmas Past (Sunita Mani) if he can take a shower before taking a stroll down memory lane, adding, "I would just love to freshen up a skosh. The last ghost was a little musky and I touched his chain. Ew." Clint is a haughty, arrogant marketing specialist who prides himself in his ability to maximize exposure for his clients by creating strife and division in the public eye. The Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) sees Clint as his ticket to finally achieving a purpose. After several seasons of performing the duties of the Ghost of Christmas Present, the specter aims to reverse the attitude of a designated "unredeemable" who has a wide reach and could affect the lives of countless others.

The real treat of "Spirited" is that Present's lofty aspirations don't go according to plan. Reynolds delivers on the annoyance front — at least in a humorous way for us viewers. His resistance to change often sparks the frustrations of Present creating fertile ground for knee-slapping comedy. The film also acts as a self-aware musical. The players involved know that they're in a musical and often react to the idea of singing songs to get their point across. The film isn't entirely dancing numbers and snappy lyrics, however. Reynolds and Ferrell are two comedic minds that play well off each other delivering the dry wit, sarcastic quips, and the undeniably chuckle-worthy view of the afterlife in this Christmas delight that is far more than a simple reimagining of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Let's look at some of the film's best gut-busting moments and rank them from a faint smirk to a spirited laugh.

12. The afterlife is a musical

Could you imagine life as a musical? Just think, flash mobs would be commonplace. Everywhere you went, folks would break out in song to narrate the events of their day and music would magically accompany their vocals from some unseen source. It'd be a truly bizarre way to live. But there are probably those among us who would flourish in such a creative and whimsical way of life. Well, the afterlife is a musical. As Will Ferrell's Ghost of Christmas Present narrates in the opening moments of the film, "So, that's what we do here. We haunt someone, change them into a better person, and then we sing about it." When one of the new workers on the floor asks why the rest of the ghosts have broken out into song, the production coordinator states, "Oh, because this is a musical." She continues, "All of this, the afterlife."

Despite this comment, it isn't just the afterlife that seems to be a musical. When we first meet Ryan Reynolds' Clint Briggs, he breaks out into song to stoke a social Christmas tree war between folks with real trees and those with fake trees. What makes these moments laughable, however, is the characters are entirely aware that their story is a musical. Often, Jacob Marley (Patrick Page) laments having to deal with yet another musical number. And, maybe he's on to something. Maybe life as a musical would get a tad old after a while.

11. A Christmas Carol as a business operation

Who would've thought that Jacob Marley would start something big when he endeavored to save the soul of his old pal and business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge? Apparently, Charles Dickens' novel, "A Christmas Carol," is far more than a story rich with heart and a lasting message. In the world of "Spirited," it's history. Will Ferrell's Ghost of Christmas Present is, in fact, Ebenezer Scrooge, who had been redeemed and born anew.

In the present, Jacob Marley has invested heavily in his operations of saving souls. Scrooge may have been the first, but he's most certainly not the last. In the present day, crotchety folks all over the world are having their own personal "A Christmas Carol" stories. That's thanks to Marley and his operations team who coordinates the whole affair. Sure, there are the three main ghosts of Christmas. But there's an entire behind-the-scenes team of operators who help the ghosts make transitions to other locales and times. Often, the Ghost of Christmas Present is asking his support team to bring up different recordings of past history like the director issuing orders to stagehands. The entire affair is rather hilarious from top to bottom as the business is filled to the brim with real-world cliches. Only this business isn't invested in making money; it's banking on saving people from their miserable lives.

10. Clint running the show

At the end of the film, Clint proves to everyone, including himself, that he has undergone a remarkable change. That comes as a result of saving Will Ferrell's now-mortal Scrooge from being obliterated by an oncoming bus. After a song and dance to celebrate Clint's big moment, time resumes and the bus actually pulverizes Clint. As Jacob Marley notes, there'd be no meaning to Clint's sacrifice if it didn't have consequences. After taking a moment to gather his thoughts, Clint sees his dearly departed sister. Together, they join Marley in the afterlife and become a part of his operations. Clint can be seen wearing the attire of the Ghost of Christmas Present after effectively taking on the role.

But the funniest moment rolls in when we see that Clint's larger-than-life personality has placed him squarely in charge of the operation. Clint has big plans for expanding the "Christmas Carol" saga to other holidays including Ramadan and Hanukkah. When Jacob attempts to object simply because he lacks the manpower, Clint quickly changes Marley's worried demeanor into flattered delight by letting him know they're meeting later to discuss the self-care program telling Marley that he hopes the leader will stop by. By all accounts, Clint is large and in charge and it's quite hilarious to see how he's taken the whole operation he once scoffed at for being an organization of "cosmic social workers" and put his own spin on it.

9. People who do gender-reveal parties

At first, Clint Briggs is a true delight. Alright, there's a hint of sarcasm there, but his callous disregard for others and his bullish wit still elicit plenty of laughs from the audience, even if it's at the expense of those he comes into contact with. Is he a crook or a criminal? No. But is he a bit of a slimy businessman? Sure. In fact, we quickly see how far he's willing to go to secure a win for his home team when his niece — the daughter of his deceased sister — asks him to help her win the election for student council. He quickly demands that his VP, Kimberly (Octavia Spencer), do opposition research on her opponent, a fellow eighth grader. That's right. Digging up "dirt" on an eighth grader is a level he'll stoop to.

But when Marley first appears to Clint as a ghost shackled in chains and warning him of an unsavory future, Clint wonders why he's been chosen for the traditional Charles Dickens "Christmas Carol" haunting. He says there are plenty of racists, murderers, and people who do gender-reveal parties in the world asking the ghost why they chose him of all people. While it's obvious that those who throw a gender reveal party should hardly be paired with racists and murderers, it's a cheeky reflection on the modern practice that sometimes draws the ire of those who view it as a pointless, extravagant affair. Social media has created all sorts of trends these days that irritate the best of us.

8. The Ghost of Christmas Past's infatuation

Let's face it, Ryan Reynolds is easy on the eyes no matter what role he's in. As the once-crowned "sexiest man alive" in 2010, Reynolds continues to charm his way into the hearts of everyone far and wide. Even as the atrociously arrogant Clint Briggs, he's handsomely debonair and suave in all the right ways. The Ghost of Christmas Past is instantly weakened by his charms. It's hard to not giggle at her total loss of focus and complete attraction to Briggs' sultry magnetism. He asks for a shower first before going on their little adventure, she at first indulges the idea likely romanticizing the image, but then suggests they stay on task. However, it only takes a few moments into Clint's past before the spirit returns to HQ and informs Present that "mama did something for herself for a change." The Ghost of Christmas Present then takes over noting that Clint's "haunt got off to a humpy start."

Of course, the moment's hilarity is compounded by the fact that this wasn't a simple dalliance based solely on physical attraction. It was truly a love at first sight meet cute of sorts. In the final moments, we see Clint knee-deep in the whole show among the spirits of Christmas, and he and Past are very much an item in the afterlife.

7. The retirement package

In the business world, there's often a retirement package that awaits the stalwart, loyal workers who've put many thankless years into their job at one company. Of course, there's the pension, the best gift of all really. But often, companies like to award those retiring with some form of recognition if not only to motivate their current workforce.

Jacob Marley keeps dangling the precious "retirement package" in front of his former partner attempting to get him to grab the happiness he once missed out on in life. You see, in this world, Ebenezer Scrooge was a convert to kindness for the space of merely three weeks before he perished. Despite his change, it seems, his foretold death still came rather quickly. Jokingly, he tells Briggs the biggest cause of death in the 1800s is January. But instead of a pension, Marley's offered retirement package will transform the current Ghost of Christmas Present back into a human to live out the rest of his days in mortality, giving him the opportunity to experience love and joy. When Clint later asks him what the retirement package is that the Ghost of Christmas Present has been avoiding for some time, he plainly states that it's a gold watch, a Sephora gift card, and mortality on Earth. Earlier in the film, Clint points out a Sephora in a past memory of the mall that didn't exist before. Present states "Good eye. Yeah, that wasn't here. We have a deal with them," insinuating that the business sponsors the "Christmas Carol" operations. It makes sense, then, that employees are offered a Sephora gift card upon retirement to spend in their new mortal existence.

6. Clint's patronizing of the Ghost of Christmas Present

Often, buddy-style partnerships are the core of great comedic adventures. The best buddy comedy experiences often pair up two unlikely individuals who, despite their extreme differences, have incredible chemistry with one another. True to form, Ryan Reynolds delivers the quick, snappy dialogue he's often known for. From a comedy perspective, he can dress down anyone or anything with simple sarcastic riffs and well-timed gags.

Will Ferrell's Ghost of Christmas Past (or Ebenezer Scrooge) is the perfect springboard for such banter. Traditionally, Ferrell perfectly embodies characters filled with child-like hope and a sense of naivete. It seems after countless seasons of being the Ghost of Christmas Present, the spirit who was once the grumpy, beleaguered Ebenezer Scrooge has transformed into the extreme of the opposite end of the spectrum. Now, he's full of optimism and he often attempts to see the best in people — someone completely antithetical to Mr. Scrooge. Well, Clint's own brand of Scrooge gives the happy-go-lucky spirit a run for his money. He often patronizes the spirit for his moral platitudes and fixation on Clint's transformation. In one scene, the spirit muses about his prime days on the job — a time when he was making a difference. Instantly, Clint picks up on that, "Was making a difference. But you're not anymore?" Present shuts him down and says, "I've answered your three questions," to which Clint retorts. "No, you just answered my fourth." It's these small digs that fuel the most chuckle-worthy banter.

5. Clint takes a beating

Look, it's only humorous until someone gets hurt; then, it's hilarious — at least in these light-hearted affairs where the injuries are meant to be played for laughs. As the ghosts whisk Clint to and fro from times past, present, and future, he is often tossed around with little regard for any objects that might cross his path. Everything kicks off with a bang when Marley visits Clint. After putting up with Clint's incessant probing questions, Marley jumps back into the spirit world, dragging his chains and weights with him. The final weight clips Clint right in the ole' noggin on its way out. During one of the best transitions between memories, he walks into a closet and is forced to cling to a coat rack as the floor gives out and he glides through the skyline down to a skating rink just in time to witness his niece follow his cruddy advice to post dirt on her opponent.

After Clint's stint with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the ghostly wraith gets the nerve to finally speak and show his frustration to Clint for encouraging his friend (Present) to take his retirement package. He then picks Clint up and throws him into a grave. Clint falls through the ceiling of his lavish apartment, bounces off the couch, and then lands on the floor. There are plenty of moments where Clint seemingly suffers a metaphorical kick to the groin as karmic retaliation for the frustration he causes the entire "Christmas Carol" program.

4. The Ghost of Christmas Future's catch phrase

Early in the film, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come laments his position as the silent and ominous character he's supposed to portray at each haunting. The program forbids him from talking. Not only does it forbid it, but some magical power seems to silence him while on the job. Probably for good reason given that he's quite the chatterbox behind the scenes. While talking with his fellow ghosts, he practices catchphrases for the day when he will finally talks on the job. "Welcome to the bone zone," doesn't quite land nor does "bone appétit."

However, in the third act, he breaks through the magic suppressing his voice to show his frustration toward Clint. He then uses a catchphrase when power-slamming Clint into a grave that he once workshopped alongside his other options earlier in the film. "You've been Christmas Carol-ed, b****!" he exclaims sending Clint through the ceiling of his lavish upscale apartment. It's one of the funniest, yet simplest jokes that pays off well in the final act of the film.

3. Good afternoon

Showing Clint his past and present misdeeds is hardly moving the needle. Present realizes this as Clint takes full ownership of all of his choices without regret. So, Present does something considered highly unorthodox by the standards of their little "Christmas Carol" program. He takes Clint to his past in the early 1800s. It's there that we learn that Present is actually Ebenezer Scrooge in life and that Charles Dickens' novel is based on his story. It's a revelation that helps Clint gain a little more insight into the spirit that's been his guide for the evening thus far. Clint notices Scrooge barking at a child and the townsfolk yelling, "good afternoon!" He asks Present what the deal is with that phrase. Present claims that in the 1800s, "good afternoon" was considered a really "sick burn."

It's then that Clint realizes that maybe Present needs to taste the thrill of venting frustration. He sings a song that's essentially about telling everyone off using the phrase "good afternoon." Eventually, Present uses it toward a man on a stagecoach after the man tells him to get out of the road calling him a dingus. From that point forward, "good afternoon" becomes the greatest inside joke in the entire film. So, maybe try using it next time you feel the urge to lay down modern profanities. It could relieve some pressure and confuse the poor sap you're yelling at.

2. Parenthood for the former Ghost of Christmas Present

Eventually, Present accepts retirement and begins to bond with Clint's VP and business partner, Kimberly. Sometime after Clint's death, he visits Present/Scrooge and Kimberly to run some data on a perp by the former Ghost of Christmas Past. Upon entering his backyard, Clint sees him building a playground for his rambunctious kids who are jumping all over him.

Viewers with children won't be able to hold back the chuckles as the message is understood completely in the heart, mind, and soul of every parent out there. Children are a handful, and the once self-centered Ebenezer Scrooge gets his fair shake at a life raising children of his own. Let's be honest, watching the poor guy's torment is a bit therapeutic for us parents. It's nice to know that the struggle comes for each and every one of us. But even still, most parents wouldn't change it for the world.

1. The Ghost of Christmas Past Meets Elf

The Christmas spirit is in the air, and the good ghosts of Marley's "Christmas Carol" operation are running amok to ensure that the most heinous people are being studied for future induction into their ghostly reformation plan. Nothing says Christmas cheer like experiencing the scared-straight program to kick you into gear toward living your best life. But we all know that Will Ferrell isn't a stranger to holiday films. In fact, "Elf" has become a Christmas classic with Will Ferrell embodying the titular character of a naïve, but hopeful elf who only wishes to love and be loved.

So, wouldn't it be funny if Ferrell's Ghost of Christmas Past runs into a spitting image of himself from his days as one of Santa's elves? At Clint's Christmas Eve party, there are many guests dressed as fun holiday-centric characters such as the Grinch. There's even a woman in the background dressed as Sally from "The Nightmare Before Christmas." And, of course, there's one party-goer that arrived dressed as Will Ferrell's elf named Buddy from the 2003 film. After running into a pole, forgetting he's no longer a ghost following his retirement, the man attempts to help Present up. When Present sees the man dressed like Buddy the elf he says, "you look stupid," and the man retorts back childishly, "you look stupid." The reference won't be lost on most fans of classic Christmas films who will thoroughly enjoy the uproarious moment.