Dopey Christmas movies are such a staple this time of year that it's actually rather shocking when one comes along that isn't stupid. Even if some critics struggle with the holiday-crime movie mashup, 'Get Santa' has been receiving glowing reviews for its witty script and sharp characters, played with energy and knowing humour by a strong cast. 

Jim Broadbent and Warick Davis in 'Get Santa'
Jim Broadbent and Warwick Davis appear together in 'Get Santa'

Much of the credit has to go to writer-director Christopher Smith, not the most obvious choice to make a heart-warming family movie. His previous films are the London Underground horror 'Creep', the team-building weekend slasher movie 'Severance', the plague-era gross-out 'Black Death' and the seafaring gorefest 'Triangle'. But all of Smith's films have a sharp undercurrent of black comedy to them, and he proves adept at concentrating on this in the context of a U-certificate action comedy (even Paddington earned a PG).

More: Read the 'Get Santa' Movie Review

There's also the stroke-of-genius casting of Jim Broadbent as Father Christmas. A fearless actor, Broadbent is an Oscar-winner who has starred in films as varied as 'Iris', 'Moulin Rouge', 'The Iron Lady', 'Brazil', 'Gangs of New York', 'The Crying Game', 'Cloud Atlas', 'Bullets Over Broadway' and 'Topsy Turvy', plus the 'Harry Potter', 'Bridget Jones', 'Narnia', 'Superman' and 'Indiana Jones' franchises.

Watch the trailer for 'Get Santa' here:


He also makes an uncannily believable Santa, even managing to sell the goofier scenes in which he tries to butch-up to fit into the prison population. And while most of the film's humour seems aimed at the grown-ups, Smith also taps into his inner child, giving youngsters in the audience a wonderful if-only fantasy.

But it's still to be seen if audiences will embrace this as a new holiday classic. The film opens this weekend in the UK, but a US release date is yet to be confirmed.