Over the years, various genres have tackled Christmas; from thriller (Die Hard) and romance (Love Actually) to horror (Silent Night, Deadly Night), the festive season has been used as a backdrop to stories of all kinds. If Get Santa was to fall into any genre, it would be crime, boasting a plot that involves a recently downed Santa being arrested and sent to prison after trying to break free his reindeer from Battersea, just days before Christmas. To avoid the disappointment of children all over the world and save the day, he enlists the help of recently released convict and former getaway driver, Steve, along with his son to come up with an escape plan and free him from the slammer. Whilst estranged father and son bond whilst trying to save Santa, the man himself must try to fit in amongst his fellow convicts to survive and subsequently takes on the persona of ‘Mad Jimmy Claus’.
After the awfulness of Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Story?!, Get Santa is a nice little Christmas surprise that whilst far from an annual classic, sits quite nicely as one of the better festive films in recent years. A lot more than the simple reindeer fart jokes showcased in the trailer, it actually makes a more than decent attempt at telling a story of a father trying to mend his broken relationship with his son. Even though its theme of broken families is at times questionable-almost every convict in prison seems to come from a broken home- it’s attempt at drawing real characters in the midst of this situation, including a new boyfriend who isn’t evil and doesn’t have a secret agenda, should at the least be applauded.
As should the inspired casting of Jim Broadbent as St. Nicholas, who at one point in the film gets to shoot reindeer poo at police during a high speed car chase; which is single handily the most ridiculous yet memorable images I’ve seen in cinema this year. I know it sounds silly and that’s because it is just that. Not in an annoying Nativity 3 kind of way though and there are jokes here that will make adults and children laugh equally as hard. During one scene in which Santa learns the ins and outs of prison life, the audience I saw this with were laughing so hard and I could see people of all ages visibly grinning from ear to ear, and that’s a nice feeling.
Get Santa isn’t perfect and it does have a number of problems, but it is a perfectly passable seasonal treat that offers plenty of silly jokes for the kids, plenty of clever ones for the adults, and more than anything has heart at the centre of its story as well as decent dose of magic too. Not life changing, but a perfect family trip to the pictures this Christmas.
Image credit to http://www.cinema.com