Bill Murray croons and schmoozes in ‘A Very Murray Christmas’

A Very Murray Christmas is a semi-ironic throwback to old-fashioned TV Christmas variety shows.

Two and a half stars

A Very Murray Christmas Available December 4 on Netflix.

Bill Murray’s best role in the past decade has been that of Bill Murray, Eccentric Celebrity, and he takes that to an extreme in his Netflix Christmas special A Very Murray Christmas. A semi-ironic throwback to old-fashioned TV Christmas variety shows, it features a threadbare narrative setup (Murray is holed up in New York City’s Carlyle Hotel during a blizzard, which has kept all the guests away from his imminent live TV Christmas broadcast) as the excuse for a cavalcade of stars to join Murray in cracking a few jokes and singing some familiar Christmas songs.

Some celebrities (Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, George Clooney) play themselves, while others (Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph and more) play semi-fictional characters, although Murray and collaborators Sofia Coppola and Mitch Glazer aren’t really interested in creating characters. The songs range from the obvious (“Silent Night,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?”) to the offbeat (“Fairytale of New York,” “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’”), mostly sung by stars not known for their singing. It’s mildly amusing at times but mainly just wildly self-indulgent. Like Murray’s endearing real-life antics, the show was probably loads of fun for the people involved, but the feeling doesn’t necessarily carry over to the viewing audience.

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