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12/7/17

GET SANTA - REVIEW


Produced by Tony Scott, believe it or not, Get Santa was a British Christmas comedy from 2014 starring Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus who crash-lands in London and ends up being jailed for attempting to steal back his lost reindeer.

The film follows Steve (Rafe Spall) and Tom (Kit Connor), a father and son, as they try to help Santa find his reindeer and sleigh before somehow getting him out of prison so he can get ready in time for his yearly Christmas "flight". Steve is a down-and-out ex-con who wants to reconnect with his son and is thrown into this unlikely scenario when Tom insists that the old man in the Santa suit hiding in the garage is the real deal. Steve is forced to make a choice between convincing Tom that none of this is real or believing his son by pursuing this surreal mission thereby risking going back to jail. Get Santa is at its strongest when it focuses on this relationship as its heart really is in the right place and it delivers just the right amount of Christmas spirit without getting to cheesy. There are some fun scenes in there too when the perfectly cast Jim Broadbent tries to act tough in prison despite being the jolliest person in the world who naturally "ho ho ho's" when he laughs.

Unfortunately, the film suffers from an uneven tone with certain scenes standing out as far too goofy and childish compared to the rest. The idea of Santa Claus in prison is funny in itself without having to resort to a silly Tom & Jerry-style fight between Warwick Davis (whose character really could have been written out entirely) in an elf suit and a prison guard. Similarly, seeing the police track down Steven and Tom as they encounter increasingly magical events lends itself to some humorous confrontations so having the reindeers communicate through farts or having Santa shoot reindeer poo at the police feels needlessly juvenile. The film's charm does shine through, however, and the film does handle the fantasy elements of the story surprisingly well thanks to some genuinely decent special effects and solid cinematography. One scene sees Steve and his son travel to the North Pole through a bunch of magic tunnels and yet it never feels like the movie jumped the shark.

By taking a glance at the poster or the DVD cover, you would probably think Get Santa was the usual straight-to-video bargain bin Christmas movie no-one would ever watch. But it's actually an enjoyable enough film with lots of Christmas spirit and a sweet father and son story at its heart.

Slightly underrated.

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