When six-year-old Tom (Kit Connor) claims he’s found Santa in the garden shed, the boy’s estranged dad Steve (Rafe Spall) fears the worst. But this being a seasonal family movie, it’s actually the real Santa – and he’s in trouble. He’s crashed his new sleigh in a London park, his reindeer are on the loose, and as things stand the kids of the world won’t be getting any presents. It’s a nightmare before Christmas!
Father and son bonding is on the cards as amiable ex-con Steve and bright-eyed Tom set out to save the day after our twinkly St Nicholas (Jim Broadbent) is thrown in jail. A slicker Hollywood treatment would have given these misadventures more punch, but this modest home-grown offering exudes a happy-scrappy charm as it bobbles whimsically along. Younger viewers will be drawn in by the effectively kiddie-centric story, there’s enough sly wit in the margins to engage the grown-ups and the whole thing conveys Christmas cheer without being overly cynical. Maybe, just maybe though, we could have done without the farting reindeer?