Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow
Original title:Dashing Through the Snow
Director:Tim Story
Running time:90 minutes
Release date:17 november 2023
Since a traumatic childhood experience, Atlanta police social worker Eddie Garrick no longer believes in the magic of Christmas. At the request of his estranged wife Allison, he brings his 9-year-old daughter Charlotte with him to work. But on December 24, they meet Nick, a mysterious man in a red suit. Thinking the man is delusional, Eddie offers him professional help, which angers a local politician and leads him and his daughter on a magical adventure that might just restore his faith in Christmas...

Mulder's Review

Dashing Through the Snow attempts to inject a touch of modernity and diversity into the classic Christmas movie formula, but the result is a somewhat uneven ride through the holiday season. Directed by Tim Story, the film boasts a cast including Ludacris, Lil Rel Howery and Teyonah Parris, and aims to offer a unique take on the well-worn path of Christmas tales. Although it manages to offer moments of gaiety and contemporary relevance, the film suffers from a lack of narrative cohesion, occasionally stumbling over its own ambitious attempts.

The film revolves around Eddie (Ludacris), a charismatic social worker caught up in a whirlwind of personal and professional challenges over the Christmas period. His encounter with Nick (Lil Rel Howery), an unconventional Santa Claus with a modern twist, sets the stage for a series of whirlwind Christmas escapades, tackling themes of family, friendship and rediscovering the Christmas spirit.

One of the film's strengths lies in the diversity of Santa's interpretation. Lil Rel Howery brings an infectious energy and charm to the role, offering a refreshing change from the traditional image of Santa Claus. The film attempts to be inclusive by acknowledging the cultural diversity of Christmas celebrations, a laudable effort that adds a layer of relevance to the story. However, these moments of creativity are often overshadowed by a lack of focus in the overall narrative.

The humor in Dashing Through the Snow is mixed, with a few genuinely funny moments, thanks in particular to Lil Rel Howery's comic prowess. However, the film sometimes relies on tired holiday-movie tropes and predictable gags, resulting in moments that seem more forced than genuinely funny. The uneven comic tone contributes to the film's difficulty in establishing a coherent atmosphere.

Pacing proves to be a major challenge for the film. Subplots and characters are introduced at a sporadic pace, preventing the audience from becoming fully invested in the unfolding story. The central theme of Eddie's rediscovery of Christmas joy is sometimes lost in the flood of subplots, leaving the film without a clear emotional anchor.

A notable departure from the classic Christmas film is the inclusion of a subplot involving political corruption, with the introduction of a nasty politician and his bumbling henchmen. While the attempt to inject a layer of social commentary is ambitious, it seems somewhat out of place in a film that otherwise relies on the light-hearted spirit of the season. The contrast between seriousness and festive elements may lead viewers to question the film's intended tone.

Despite its narrative problems, Dashing Through the Snow has its merits. The film succeeds in capturing moments of warmth, particularly in its exploration of family dynamics and the importance of bonding during the festive season. The soundtrack, filled with upbeat Christmas tunes, adds to the overall festive atmosphere, providing a musical backdrop that complements the on-screen festivities.

Dashing Through the Snow is a well-intentioned attempt to breathe new life into the Christmas movie genre. While it doesn't achieve holiday classic status, it offers just enough moments of entertainment, humor and positive messages to make it passable seasonal entertainment. It may not be the smoothest Christmas movie around, but for those willing to overlook its narrative difficulties, it offers a perfectly decent dose of Christmas cheer.

Dashing Through the Snow
Directed by Tim Story
Written by Scott Rosenberg
Produced by John Jacobs, Will Packer
Starring Lil Rel Howery, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Teyonah Parris, Oscar Nunez Madison Skye Validum, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Cinematography : Christopher Duskin
Edited by David Clark, David Rennie
Music by Christopher Lennertz
Production companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Will Packer Productions, Smart Entertainment
Distributed by Disney+
Release date : November 17, 2023 (United States, France)
Running time : 90 minutes

Seen on November 17, 2023 on Disney+

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