Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Get Santa (2014)
An instant Christmas classic, Get Santa is a distinctly homegrown British affair and all the better for it.
When a test drive of a new sleigh proves disastrous, Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent; utterly perfect) become stranded in London and ultimately gets arrested and sent to prison. His only hope comes in the surprising shape of newly released ex-con Steve (Rafe Spall at his everyman/straightman best), a getaway driver and absent father whose young son Tom (newcomer Kit Connor) just wants him to stop letting him down. Their mission is a race against time on Christmas Eve to break Santa from prison and ensure all the children of the world receive their presents. But with a black hearted, grotesque Dahl-esque parole officer (Joanna Scanlan) and her policeman accomplice (Ewen Bremner) hellbent on putting Steve back behind bars, will father and son really be able to save Christmas?
This is a surprising curveball from writer/director Christopher Smith (whose previous offering include the disappointing horrors Severance and Black Death) but it's certainly a pleasing one. The production is parochial and cheap but is invested in magic helped immeasurably by a cast who are all on the same page with some wonderful performances from the likes of familiar TV and TV faces such as Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham, Perry Benson, Nonso Anozie, Jodie Whittaker, Matt King, Joshua McGuire and even The Killing and Borgen's Bjarne Henriksen. Get Santa is that rare thing in Christmas movies, it's not sickly sweet, sentimental or schmaltzy, it's just great fun. There's plenty for the kids naturally, and they'll be delighted by all the fart and poo gags, but I defy any adult not to find Stephen Graham teaching Jim Broadbent's Santa to become the mean cornrowed Mad Jimmy Claws in order to survive in prison hilarious!
On the downside, there's a tiny sense that Get Santa has suffered a bit in the editing, with some character development and plot points dropped almost as soon as they appear, and it's a shame they didn't use the original version of Christmas Wrapping from The Waitresses though instead of an inferior cover from insipid and bland girl group The Saturdays, but these are minor criticisms for what is a fun for all the family romp.
More like this please, Mr Smith!