Christmas and Holiday films have a sweet and cozy likeability about them, especially to children. Many a year my family would watch classics like The Muppets Christmas Carol and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. So imagine my excitement when Disney announced the holiday-themed DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW. The story seemed to be an interesting take on the Christmas Eve/Santa film we are all used to.
The film follows Eddie Garrick living in Atlanta (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) as a separated father to a 9-year-old daughter Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum). Garrick is disenchanted with Christmas and Santa after a traumatic childhood experience. His wife Allison Garrick (Teyonah Parris) asks Eddie to take his daughter on Christmas Eve and they run into a familiar man in a red suit named “Nick” (Lil Rel Howery). He professes he is Santa, but Eddie who is a social worker, thinks the man may be one reindeer short of a sleigh ride.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is a likeable actor, here he plays the father figure very reserved. There feels like a minimal connection to his daughter Charlotte (Validum). I know this isn’t supposed to be a hard-hitting dramatic role, but there’s a void in Eddie Garrick’s personality. It could be due to the trauma he went through as a child and that is why he wants to help others. In contrast, his daughter Charlotte is very upbeat and likeable. Validum plays up the sweetness quite a bit, which evens out the dread from her dad.
Lil Rel Howery as Nick was interesting casting. Many may remember him from films like Get Out, Bird Box and the underappreciated The Mill). His humour in DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW is very tame, this is of course a family film at heart. This brings me to the subplot of the local politician Conrad Harf (Oscar Nuñez) who wants to have his goon squad Peter (Ravi Patel), Paul (Marcus Lewis) and Mary (Mary Lynn Rajskub) retrieve Nick. This squad gives chase to Nick, Eddie and Charlotte throughout the night. This slows the pace of the film, although also allowing for a few touching moments between father and daughter.
Tim Story directs the original family Holiday film DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW . It may have adults surfing their phones throughout the 92-minute runtime, but younger kids will enjoy seeing Nick (who for some reason sweats glitter) and his friends make their way through Christmas Eve. I will say this is a very original film and for that, I give heavy kudos.
“Dashing Through the Snow” will stream on November 17, 2023, on Disney+.