The Pierce family loves Christmas and always has done. Dad, Doug (Oliver Hudson) is at the heart of their traditions, including recording them on his old school camcorder. (The fact that a camcorder is old school makes me feel very old). When Doug dies, mum Claire (Kimberley Williams-Paisley) has to pick up the slack at work and kids Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp) are left somewhat at loose ends.
When discovers she’s inadvertently captured Santa (Kurt Russell) on Doug’s old camcorder she’s insistent that they need to track him down. Teddy, who has been spending his time stealing cars in a grief-stricken rebellious haze initially wants nothing to do with it, but Kate’s ability to bribe him soon changes his mind.
Santa turns out to be somewhat different from what Teddy and Kate were expecting and their run in with him threatens to derail Christmas completely. Now the brother and sister will need to band together on a journey of a lifetime to save Christmas, while Santa tries his best to get out of the slammer.
I have to say I quite enjoyed Kurt Russell’s rock ‘n roll Santa. He was fun and edgy but still very warm and festive. I loved how he knew what everyone had ever wanted for Christmas and also his method for going down chimneys.
The child actors were… fine. Not too annoying but nothing special. I felt for their desolation at the family changing so dramatically and seeing the siblings reconnect was sweet.
The CGI is fairly decent and I eventually got on-board with the elves even though I was not immediately sold. Kate’s first interactions with them are a bit nuts.
There is little to stop this from descending into cliché but I think to some extent that’s what we all want from a Christmas family film and I think kids would absolutely love the magic of the flying reindeer and Santa’s Tardis-like sack… (in no way a euphemism).
All in all it’s a sweet, fun family film that is really enjoyable as part of the season. Well done, Netflix.