Starring: Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader, Billy Eichner, Ron Funches, Julie Hagerty, Shirley MacLaine, Brayan Brendle, Maceo Smedley, Michael Gross, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Chelah Horsdal, Anna Van Hooft, Anthony Konechny
OUR RATING: ★★½
Disney+’s fantasy adventure comedy written and directed by Marc Lawrence. After Santa prepares to retire and pass on the reins to his son Nick Claus (Bill Hader), Nick ends up getting cold feet prior to his first big Christmas Eve flight and abandons his job completely. The story then follows his sister, Noelle (Anna Kendrick), who is forced to face the world outside the North Pole for the first time to look for Nick and convince him to return to his duties. At the same time, their ill-prepared cousin, Gabriel Kringle (Billy Eichner), steps up and prepares to turn Santa’s workshop into an online delivery service.
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Our Favorite Quotes:'I know Christmas can't solve all our problems. But it gives us hope. It inspires us to be nice. That might not seem like much, but when someone's sad, or just lonely, it can be the biggest thing in the world.' - Noelle Kringle Click To Tweet 'It's not just about the presents we get. It's about the presents we give. The presents of love and understanding.' - Noelle Kringle (Noelle) Click To Tweet 'Sometimes, all you need is a nice word from a friend to make you feel comfortable in your own boots.' - Noelle Kringle (Noelle) Click To Tweet
Noelle Kringle: When I was little girl, Christmas Eve was my favorite night of the year. I’d wait up with my brother for Santa. Sometimes we would fall asleep, but I’d be dreaming of presents. I really love presents.
[as young Noelle catches Santa delivering presents]
Young Noelle: So, I see you have some presents…
Kris Kringle: Oh, I do. Um, have you been naughty or nice this year?
Young Noelle: In my personal opinion, very nice.
Kris Kringle: Well, let me check my list.
[he pulls open his scroll]
Kris Kringle: Oh! Oh! I’m, checking it twice.
Young Noelle: Dad! You know I’m nice.
Kris Kringle: Give me a hug.
[she gives Santa a hug]
[after Nick receives the Santa hat as a present from his father, Santa]
Kris Kringle: Congratulations, my boy. It’s time to start your Santa training.
Mrs. Claus: Try it on.
[young Nick tries on the Santa hat and it’s too big for his head]
Young Nick: I’m not sure this fits.
Kris Kringle: It will fit you when you fit it.
Kris Kringle: Well, what do you want to do?
Young Noelle: I would like to do what you do.
Kris Kringle: You mean, be Santa?
Young Noelle: No, Nick is Santa. But I would like to help decide what toys to make, and fly the sleigh, and do something really important.
Kris Kringle: You do, Noelle. You make everyone jolly with your cards, and your Christmas cheer, and you know how much your brother depends on you. So you can help him, and always keep his Christmas spirit up.
[Noelle looks a little disappointed]
Young Noelle: Sure. I can do that.
Kris Kringle: I’m counting on you.
Noelle Kringle: Now that I’m grown up, Christmas is still my favorite time of the year. Although, this Christmas is a sad one. Dad passed away five months ago, and I miss him every day. But Dad always told us that Christmas must go on, especially for us Kringles, because for two thousand years, our ancestors have been the Santas that bring joy to children all over the world. And now it’s my big brother’s turn, as Nick becomes the twenty-third Kringle to wear the red hat.
Noelle Kringle: And as for me, I’m still making my cards and spreading Christmas cheer, just like dad told me to. I don’t know what everyone would do without me.
Elf Polly: Morning, princess.
Noelle Kringle: Thank you, but I don’t want breakfast.
Elf Polly: Yes, you do.
Noelle Kringle: I’m very busy.
Elf Polly: I have been out in the forest, chopping firewood, carting it on my back, so that I could heat up the cottage and make your breakfast waffles, while I picked up all the dirty clothes, but none of that’s really been a problem.
Noelle Kringle: I don’t need you to do any of that stuff. Honestly.
Elf Polly: You would starve and die if it weren’t for me.
Noelle Kringle: That’s what you think.
[as she takes a bite of her breakfast]
Noelle Kringle: Oh, my garland. This is delicious. Oh, my Partridge In a Pear Tree underwear needs washing.
Elf Polly: Oh, well, then my Christmas wish has been granted.
Elf Carol: We know it’s been a whirlwind preparation since your father, and our dearly beloved Santa Nicholas, passed away. How is your brother doing?
Noelle Kringle: So jolly. We’re all very proud of him.
Elf Carol: And the big question is, will he be ready by Christmas?
Noelle Kringle: Of course. He’s a Kringle.
[after Nick has another disastrous Santa training]
Noelle Kringle: Oh, Cousin Gabe, I’m sorry. Did you just refer to him as Cousin Nick? Shouldn’t you be calling my big brother Santa?
Gabriel Kringle: Oh, I’m sorry. I just thought that since we are all family, that…
Noelle Kringle: Well, he’s Santa to you, he’s Santa to everyone. He’s even Santa to himself.
Nick Kringle: Well, actually, I’m pretty informal when I’m alone. I’m just Nick.
Mrs. Claus: Alone. That’s a jolly idea. Why don’t we all just give Santa a moment.
Mrs. Kringle: [to Noelle; referring to Nick] This is not going well at all.
[to Noelle, who is helping him train to be Santa]
Nick Kringle: How am I supposed to know which is the right present to give each child? If I haven’t determined who’s naughty or nice, how can I pick their present? You see, it’s kind of a vicious circle.
[as Noelle continues to train Nick to be Santa]
Noelle Kringle: This is the list. It’s filled with names. Some are nice, and some are naughty. Some of the names haven’t been filled in yet, and that’s going to be your job, okay? Dad always said, “It’s not about what the kid looks like. It’s what’s on the inside that’s important. You need to connect with their heart.”
Nick Kringle: Oh, I love that. How’s that done?
Noelle Kringle: I have no idea. Just focus really hard, I guess?
[trying to help Nick determine what kids are naughty or nice, Noelle holds up a photo of a smiling girl]
Nick Kringle: Uh, nice.
Noelle Kringle: She cheated on every math test she ever took.
[Noelle holds up a photo of an angry looking kid]
Nick Kringle: That’s a stocking full of coal if ever I’ve seen one.
Noelle Kringle: Yeah. He saved a kitten from a tree, after visiting his grandmother in the nursing home.
Nick Kringle: So, nice?
[as Nick is practicing going through a chimney]
Noelle Kringle: You’re almost in. Look how good you’re doing!
Nick Kringle: I don’t want to do this. No!
Noelle Kringle: This is great! This is great! Let it happen!
Nick Kringle: No! No!
[Nick falls through the chimney and we hear him crash landing]
Noelle Kringle: Great job, buddy. That looked great. You okay?
Nick Kringle: No!
Nick Kringle: I feel like I’ve been shivering my whole life, you know? Sometimes, I dream about getting out and finding someplace warm, where I can stretch, and relax, and just breathe, you know?
Noelle Kringle: Then you should.
Nick Kringle: How? I’m Santa. You know, I don’t get a vacation. I don’t even get Christmas off.
Noelle Kringle: Well, you can’t be Santa if you’re having a nervous breakdown. Nobody wants you sliding into their fireplace crying and weeping. Nothing merry about that.
Nick Kringle: I can’t go down chimneys. I’m claustrophobic.
Noelle Kringle: You remember those magazines dad used to bring me on Christmas?
Nick Kringle: Yeah, like People? That’s how I found out Jennifer Aniston’s nice.
Noelle Kringle: Yeah. Travel And Leisure had those sections about the perfect Christmas getaway. You know, warm weather, swimming pools, sun-kissed mountains. You need to look in that magazine, pick a place, get away for the weekend. And bring me back some issues while you’re down there.
Elder Elf Abe: For the first time in two thousand years, a Santa has disappeared, at the urging of his sister, Noelle.
Noelle Kringle: I just said he should take the weekend off.
Elder Elf Billy: You put Christmas in jeopardy, young lady.
Elder Elf Abe: As Christmas is just six days away, we must have a new Santa.
Noelle Kringle: Wait. What about a rescue mission? My brother could be hurt. He might’ve fallen out of the sleigh. I’ve seen him do it.
Elder Elf Abe: No one but Santa has ever left the Pole, and we have no idea where Santa is. We could lose the sleigh, or the reindeer. Then there would be no Christmas. No, a rescue attempt is far too dangerous. Leaving me no choice but to call upon Gabriel Kringle.
Gabriel Kringle: Me?
Elder Elf Abe: Please, approach the council.
Gabriel Kringle: But I’m in the Tech department, and loving it!
Elder Elf Billy: Nevertheless, you must approach, because we must select the next adult male Kringle as specified by the Christmas covenant.
Elf Polly: That’s not exactly what it says…
Noelle Kringle: Shh. They’re elder elves. They know what they’re talking about.
Elf Polly: Please.
Mrs. Claus: Noelle, why did you tell your brother to leave?
Noelle Kringle: I thought he would come back.
Mrs. Claus: You didn’t think about how he listens to you, and how your advice affected Christmas and all the children in the world.
Noelle Kringle: I just said, “Take the weekend.”
Elf Polly: Princess, for once in your life, try cleaning up your own mess.
Noelle Kringle: How do you suggest I do that?
[reads from one of Noelle’s travel magazines]
Elf Polly: “Take a journey to a better you.”
[taking out Santa’s sleigh]
Elf Polly: Princess, do you mind telling me what you’re doing?
Noelle Kringle: I’m going to get my brother, and you’re coming with me.
[after they end up in Phoenix in the middle of a mall]
Mall Security Guard: What do you think you doing?
Noelle Kringle: Hi, I’m Noelle.
Mall Security Guard: Stay right where you are.
Noelle Kringle: We are looking for Santa Claus.
Gabriel Kringle: What if not having the sleigh or the reindeer is a blessing in disguise?
Mrs. Claus: I don’t think so.
Gabriel Kringle: This could be the perfect time to start an online delivery platform.
Mrs. Claus: I don’t think so.
Gabriel Kringle: But what if the reindeer have Lyme disease? What if an asteroid crashes into the sleigh? These are real concerns, statistically speaking, and I think our customers deserve better.
Mrs. Claus: We don’t have customers. We have children who need the magic of a Santa coming down the chimney, and arranging each present with love and care under the tree.
Gabriel Kringle: Okay, well, now you sound like a crazy person.
Mrs. Claus: Gabe, aren’t you even worried about your cousins, Nick and Noelle, and Polly? Who knows what terrible things have happened to them?
Noelle Kringle: Okay. Let’s go find my brother.
Elf Polly: Hold on. Someone has to stay and keep an eye on Dasher and company. They’re used to a strict regimen of North Pole hay and training. So, who knows what will happen when they’re faced with temptation?
Noelle Kringle: So, you want me to go out there alone?
Elf Polly: No, you go out there and you be merry, and you don’t tell anybody who you are, or where you came from. And always be ready to run away.
[to the street Santa, who’s wearing shorts]
Street Santa: Fifty percent off everything. The more you buy, the merrier you are.
Noelle Kringle: Sir, it’s a privilege to wear that suit. Put some pants on.
[the Santa just looks at her, pulls down his beard and takes a bite out of his pizza]
Noelle Kringle: So naughty.
[Noelle goes to the Phoenix Santa School and shows a photo of Nick dressed in a Santa suit]
Noelle Kringle: Have you seen this man?
Omar: Mm-mm. Definitely not one of ours. Cheap suit, no one’s going to believe that.
[Noelle goes to see private investigator, Jake]
Jake Hapman: Why are you so red? And why are you wearing a winter hat and mittens in Phoenix?
Noelle Kringle: Because it’s an ensemble. But I’m here because I’m looking for my brother. I’m worried something might have happened to him.
Jake Hapman: Like what?
Noelle Kringle: Uh, well, my father ran a business, and after he passed, my brother was supposed to take over, but he left and came to Phoenix, because he said he needed to breathe, and stretch, and relax. But we have to find him because I know, in his heart, he wants to run the family business.
Jake Hapman: I find most people, they don’t know what’s in their own hearts, let alone anyone else’s. That’s if they even have a heart in the first place.
Noelle Kringle: Oh. That’s pretty stocking half empty.
Jake Hapman: Yeah, well, I’m a private detective. You get “stocking half empty” pretty quick.
[after Noelle figures out that Matt is nice and he lets Jake borrow his phone]
Noelle Kringle: Noelle Kringle. I hope you get what you want for Christmas this year.
Matt Bautista: Matt Bautista. I’m actually a Buddhist.
Noelle Kringle: Oh, jolly! My dad always said, “Christmas is like sushi, the Japanese invented it, but now everybody loves it.”
Matt Bautista: Well, I do love sushi.
[watching Gabe’s ad on TV]
Gabriel Kringle: Merry Christmas, Elf-folk, it’s Santa. Santa Gabe. As you may know, my cousin Nick, the ex-Santa, never completed the Nice or Naughty list, but that’s jolly. Because it allowed us to develop FALALA. Forensic Algorithm for Lateral Analysis of Latent Altruism. It’s a digitized metric which allows us to determine a child’s Nice or Naughty quotient. For instance…
Mrs. Claus: Holy night.
Gabriel Kringle: This is Kali from Brooklyn. Using his internet activity, school records, and satellite surveillance, FALALA was able to ascertain that he is Nice. And he wants a PlayStation. We’re now standardizing all packages in green, red, or the best of both, swirl.
Noelle Kringle: [to the mall manager] Hi, Helen. Can I have a hundred and fifty dollars a day, please?
Helen Rojas: I can’t give you a hundred and fifty dollars in cash. But I can give you a hundred and fifty dollars in retail merchandise. What would you like? Bath Bar, Cinnabon, Chrysler Pacifica?
Noelle Kringle: I don’t know what those things are, but I will take all of them. Also, can we stay here tonight?
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