With the breakout success of A Christmas Prince and its recent sequel, (both starring Kiwi Rose McIver), Netflix has come to increasingly dominate the Christmas movie space. The Christmas Chronicles is the biggest swing yet in this arena, and although it doesn't break any significant new ground, it's winsome enough to entertain the young 'uns.
Judah Lewis (Netflix's The Babysitter) and Darby Camp (who played Reese Witherspoon's daughter in Big Little Lies) play Teddy and Kate, a brother and sister who conspire to capture Santa Claus on camera after discovering what appears to be a cameo from the big red man in one of their late father's christmas home videos.
The gambit works, but they end up accidentally derailing Santa (Kurt Russell) on Christmas Eve before he's delivered all his presents, bringing Christmas itself into peril.
Russell's laconic charms very much suit the gruff Santa of this film, which is at its best when recalling the directorial work of producer Chris Columbus, namely A Night On The Town (1987) and Home Alone (1990).
However, a sophisticated affair, this is not: there are a lot of jokes about how slim this Santa is, some weird stuff with CGI elves and Russell gets to break out his Elvis (whom he played in a 1979 TV movie) for a musical number. In a jail cell.
The Christmas Chronicles sits comfortably within the new-ish tier occupied by Netflix's high-profile movie offerings: it's of a higher quality than most TV movies or direct-to-video films, but doesn't quite rise to the level of a theatre-released work.
Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Teddy Pierce
Cute and inoffensive, if largely forgettable.