There's a lot of ways musical theatre can be deemed gay, whether there's an iconic gay actor in the lead role (Ben Platt in Evan Hansen), or the lead actress is a gay icon (Barbra Streisand in Hello, Dolly!), or if the plot itself is straight-up gay (The Prom). Whatever the case may be, and in whatever combination of facets, almost all really great musicals just have an underlying sense of gayness about them, usually for a multitude of reasons. And Spirited, starring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, hits a seemingly endless amount of the gay musical theatre checkmarks.
The movie tells the classic story of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a point they call out in a few instances of perfectly executed expositional jokes at their own expense. It also co-stars Octavia Spencer (who The Gays™ obviously love), darling of Broadway, forever daddy-with-the-deep-voice Patrick Page, Tracy Morgan, and Sunita Mani. I mean, honestly, we get to see Octavia fucking Spencer singing her heart out about her crisis of humanity, and she knocks it out the park. That PLUS that fact that Ryan Reynolds is just getting hotter and hotter as the years go on and is serving major Daddy vibes, probably in no small part to the fact that he's about to become a real life daddy for the fourth time with his amazing wife Blake Lively.
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Spirited is obviously and decidedly telling the Dickens story that we all know and love, but it still manages to throw some outstanding curveballs. For sure one of the biggest is what an insanely good musical this movie is at a fundamental level, and that's in no small part to the tunes written by musical icons, Oscar/Grammy/Tony/Olivier Award-winning songwriters/producers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known better to most simply as: Pasek & Paul. The songs are catchy, funny, clever, poignant, and holy shit bopping. And decidedly worth noting is the incredible chemistry between Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, which impeccably serves to feature the at times decidedly PG-13 nature of the movie.
But there's the biggest curveball of them all: Reynolds and Ferrell turn it the fuck OUT in these dances. I was not ready!!! These guys hit every step and showed off some MAJOR tap dance skills (one the gayest of the dance styles obvi), and most importantly they managed to keep up with the mind-bogglingly impressive big numbers and a supporting cast of dancers doing the high-budget, big-company dance numbers from genius choreographer Chloé Arnold. The numbers are knock you off your seat impressive, and the supporting cast is truly one of the most impressively successful showings of acting, dancing, energy, and commitment. Watch this below clip of Ryan Reynolds in first song, and this will give you a feel for the impressive fabulousness nature of the entire movie.
Let me sum things up this way: All I could think about the entire movie was, "Holy shit... can you imagine if 10 year-old Tommy had this movie growing up and how he would have FLIPPED for it???" Spirited was pure joy, in my opinion, and I couldn't recommend it more. I've already watched it multiple times and it's sure to be an annual holiday go-to for me. "It's documented fact that one person's kindness can have a ripple effect."