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The Independent Critic

Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson
Clay Kaytis
Matt Lieberman
104 Mins.

 "The Christmas Chronicles" Debuts on Netflix on 11/22 
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It's probably not surprising that the Netflix holiday release The Christmas Chronicles is a relentlessly schmaltzy, goofily awesome family friendly comedy adventure. 

It may be surprising that The Christmas Chronicles is a winner, a surprisingly endearing smile-inducing sack o' goodies that soars on the strength of Kurt Russell's inspired and just plain fun performance as ole' St. Nick without the ho-ho-ho. 

That's fake news, ya know?

The Christmas Chronicles centers around two young siblings, Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp), whose once close relationship has frayed following the devastating death of their perpetually holiday celebrating father. While their mom, Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), tries to hold everything together, being the sole breadwinner would strain even the cheeriest little elf. When mom is called into work on Christmas Eve, the adventure begins as Teddy and Kate decide to catch video of Santa in action and their ill-advised plan creates Christmas chaos as Santa crash lands in the Windy City and it's up to Teddy and Kate to do whatever it takes to help Santa save Christmas. 

Silly? Absolutely. Predictable? Oh yeah. Maybe a little overly familiar? Hmmm. Probably. 

But here's the thing, there's never really a time when The Christmas Chronicle's heart isn't in the right place and this whimsical and joy-filled holiday film becomes just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit when it releases via Netflix on Thanksgiving Day 2018. 

Co-produced by Chris Columbus, The Christmas Chronicles has the look and feeling of a Columbus influenced film. While some may begrudge the film's tips o' the hat to other Columbus classics like Home Alone and even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, it's difficult to begrudge the film such borrowings when it does so with such a pure heart and enthusiastic spirit. 

Directed by Clay Kaytis (The Angry Birds Movie) from a script by Matt Lieberman, The Christmas Chronicles features a terrific ensemble cast, though the truth is that The Christmas Chronicles is practically a highlight reel for the infinitely charismatic and hypnotic Kurt Russell, who so completely embodies the spirit of Santa Claus that you're willing to follow him anywhere and smile the whole way there. 

Yep, I'm going to say it. Kurt Russell makes you believe. 

If you're not the type of person who can surrender yourself to silly and spirited holiday fare, then The Christmas Chronicles may not necessarily be the film for you. While it's unlikely to attain holiday classic status anytime soon, The Christmas Chronicles is a warm and bright season's greeting for the entire family and an entertaining way to kick off your holiday season viewing. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic