A few years ago, the late, great Jon Schnepp was on Movie Talk on Collider and the topic of this movie, at the time named ‘Nicole,’ came up, and the EYG Hall of Famer cut loose on it.
“Ugh, why’d it have to go to me first? Um…hey, what’s up everybody? You know what…I…sometimes when I have nothing to do just sitting, maybe, on the toilet having some ocnstipation, I think about things like, “I wonder what would happen if… uh… Santa… what if he couldn’t…what if he couldn’t get to the sleigh and his son also was afraid…what would happen…what would happen? (Fart sound) Oh (bubble sound) *Shrugs shoulders*”
It was an epic rant that just destroyed the rest of the panel (Jeremy Johns took several moments to regain his composure). It was one of those Schnepp moments that made him who he was. I never forgot that.
So when Noelle was on Disney +, I realized that this was the movie Schepp had roasted. It did not inspire me to watch it. However, eventually I put the film on one Saturday night.
And it was not that bad. I would even go as far as to say that I liked it.
Santa Claus has died and his son Nick (Bill Hader) was supposed to take over, but he was not feeling his destiny. His sister Noelle (Anna Kendrick) tried to convince him by telling him to take a weekend to himself. So Nick ran on and disappeared.
Because of his rejection of the Santa hat, the people in charge chose a new person to take over the mantel, but this guy (Billy Eichner) was extremely harsh on the naughty of the world, sending text messages to kids who bit their fingernails or other such minor offenses saying that they would not be receiving anything from Santa this year. He was also looking to change the delivery system into something resembling Amazon Prime.
This sent Noelle out to the real world in an attempt to find Nick and save Christmas.
The major thing that this movie has going for it is the absolute charm of Anna Kendrick. She is 100% the reason to watch this movie. She is wonderful as the naive Noelle who does not understand what the real world is like, who still wears her fur outfit in the Arizona heat and who does not know what sunscreen is. She plays Noelle as such a sweet spirit of goodness and light that you cannot help but like her.
Her relationship with Bill Hader is very strong as well and the pairing was gold in several instances. Throw in Shirley MacLaine as Elf Polly and you have a comedy team for the holidays.
Yes the story is predictable and there is not that much that we haven’t seen before in such films as The Santa Clause, but Anna Kendrick is such a winning personality that I think this is a film that families can enjoy together during the holidays. There is a positive message and some actually clever writing with some of the dialogue.
I was absolutely ready to rip this up as Jon Schnepp did, but it had won me over with its charm and pizzazz.