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Review – “Dashing Through the Snow” Doesn’t Capture the Christmas Magic That the Story Is About

Despite a positive start, the film’s poor pacing, performances and plot let it down

By Monita MohanPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
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(L-R): Lil Rel Howery as Nick and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges as Eddie in DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Steve Dietl. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Watching a Christmas film in the middle of November is a bizarre experience. But then again, in 2023, it seems like Christmas celebrations started the moment Halloween was over. I know we joke about it every year, but I really feel it this time. So, it should have come as no surprise to me that Disney+ would release a holiday film when we’re still far away from the Christmas break.

I received a screener for “Dashing Through the Snow”, which is my first Christmas film of the year. It’s not a good start to my holiday viewing, unfortunately. Despite boasting a fun cast of Lil Rel Howery, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Teyonah Parris, the film was surprisingly not charming, and not even that funny.

What is “Dashing Through the Snow” About?

Eddie Garrick (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) used to love Christmas, that’s until one childhood Christmas was particularly memorable, for all the wrong reasons. Decades later, the man tries his best to navigate a Christmas-obsessed Atlanta; all while trying to juggling his job as a social worker and his extremely Christmas-happy daughter, Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum).

Things take a turn when Eddie bumps into a decidedly odd fellow named Nick (Lil Rel Howery). There’s something suspicious about Nick, but Eddie’s determined to help the man. So, Eddie and Charlotte end up on an adventure with Nick.

Other characters include Eddie’s wife Allison (Teyonah Parris)—who’s on a shopping spree—as well as local politician Conrad Harf, played by Oscar Nuñez.

“Dashing Through the Snow” Has a Few Positives

Without giving away any spoilers, one of the earlier scenes in “Dashing Through the Snow” was so heartwarming, it gave me false hope about the rest of the film. While we all know Ludacris can do comedy, the scene in question was more emotional and restrained with elements of humour in it. Ludacris knocked the emotionality out of the park, as did his scene partner.

This particular scene alluded to the hardships that some people face during the ‘most wonderful time of year’, and the importance of finding someone, anyone, to hear you and give you a helping hand. I could have—and was all set to—watch a film about people who persevere through rough Christmases, but that is not what the film is about. This is why you should always read the summary before watching something, but I love tuning in to watch things with as little knowledge about it as possible. Joke’s on me, I guess.

One other positive is that “Dashing Through the Snow” is more inclusive than most Christmas movies. Christmas films—at least the ones that have been mainstream and promoted—usually have the same kinds of casts. I mean, the look of Hallmark Christmas movies is a literal trope, so one of the reasons I was excited to watch “Dashing Through the Snow” was because of the majority Black cast. Not only is the Garrick family Black, but so is the mystery man Nick.

The supporting cast is peppered with actors from numerous different communities, which is still rare in many of the Christmas film’s that I’ve watched.

“Dashing Through the Snow” Just Isn’t Funny

I thought at the start that I was in for a laugh riot. The prelude had some humorous moments, as did Ludacris’s introduction, but things went downhill soon after.

This film is not Ludacris’s best work. It’s not Howery’s best work either. Both actors have a ton of screen time, and there are times when they look utterly confused by what scene they’re in or why they’re delivering said dialogue. Other times, it seems like they missed their cue to speak, but the editors just left the pause in. The supporting cast is in a similar situation. Everyone has bright sparks, but they fizzle. It’s almost like director Tim Story told them all to ham it up, but none of them knew how much. The only person whose performance works is Parris, but she’s only in four scenes.

The poor performances meant that very few of the jokes landed. Ok, that one isn’t only on the actors—I think writer Scott Rosenberg was striving for punny Christmas humor but fell short a lot of the time. I’m really surprised though; Rosenberg wrote the two “Jumanji” reboot films and they’re hilarious. “Dashing Through the Snow” is definitely not.

Tied to all this, the pacing is off. You feel like you missed a part of the story which is the catalyst for the film’s plot, and by the time it’s explained, you’ve put it all together through context clues. The editing isn’t tight or exciting enough to make you feel any sense of urgency, and the actors don’t change their pace even when they’re in a rush, so the whole film feels like it’s on cruise control.

Though the central premise of the film is easy to decipher, it becomes the main plotline only in the third act, and the way it’s introduced feels contrived.

I really wanted to enjoy “Dashing Through the Snow”, but I was disappointed by how unfunny it was. I was all set to laugh my way to the end. Unfortunately, whoever decided this film needs to feel, look, and have the quality of a ‘90s feel-good twee Christmas film for kids did this film, and its cast, a huge disservice.

“Dashing Through the Snow” is streaming on Disney+.

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About the Creator

Monita Mohan

When not dreaming of a one-way trip to Coruscant, I'm usually staring at a blank page, hoping my articles write themselves.

Website: lightspeedwriter.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Monita_Mohan

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