‘Dashing Through the Snow’ Review: Cast Ludacris in Everything

Sorry to all other festive movies coming out this holiday season—nothing can top the revival of Ludacrismas. More than 15 years after Ludacris worked on Fred Claus, contributing a single that has mysteriously fallen off the face of the Earth, the rapper has returned to save Christmas once more. Hallelujah. It’s a Chicken-n-Beer miracle.

While we could spend this entire review quoting more Ludacris tracks and albums, we won’t, considering the star’s latest film, Dashing Through the Snow (Nov. 17 on Disney+), is firmly PG-rated. Sorry, guys. A lack of Ludacris puns is not my fantasy, but don’t blame me; Disney is the one acting a fool. While it’s shocking to see Ludacris star in such a family-friendly role after his musical work and frequent participation in the Fast & Furious franchise, after watching this, you’ll have to admit: Ludacris was made to star in Christmas movies.

And it’s not just because half of his name is the prefix of Christmas. Ludacris runs away with Dashing Through the Snow as Eddie Garrick, a crisis counselor with the Atlanta police department who hates the festive season that comes around every December. Eddie claims that Christmas is “the chicken wing of holidays”—not in the fact that it’s delicious, but rather that it’s a lot of work and overrated. It doesn’t help that during one miserable childhood holiday season, not only did Eddie’s parents get divorced on Christmas, but a man dressed like Santa also tried to rob their house. The first part of that backstory is predictable. The second—okay, that’s a twist on “bah humbugs” none of us saw coming.

As an adult, Eddie is now in the same situation as his parents were. He’s going through a separation from his wife Allison (Marvel star Teyonah Parris, criminally underused in this movie) while their daughter Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum) tries to prevent the break-up at all costs. Eddie is often too busy working to spend time with Charlotte, but he’s got time off on Christmas. Problem is, Charlotte loves Christmas—of course she does, she’s a little girl!—and Eddie can’t muster up a smile to celebrate with his daughter in some of the only moments he gets with her all year. What a grump.

Eddie’s plans to sit through one grueling, overlong Christmas movie with Charlotte take a 180 when Nicholas S. Claus (Lil Rel Howery) comes tumbling down the chimney. Oh no—has “Santa” come to rob Eddie again? This time, though, it’s the real Santa. The “S” stands for Sinter, and when you say it reeeeaaallly slow—Siiiintaaaaar Claus (which reads more like Centaur Claus to me)—his name sounds like Santa. The “Nicholas” must be of the Ol’ Saint Nick variety. Santa does everything he can to prove that he’s legit, but Eddie still believes him to be an assailant that needs to be checked into some kind of outpatient facility.

Madison Skye Validum and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges chase after Lil Rel Howery in a still from 'Dashing Through the Snow'

Madison Skye Validum as Charlotte, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Eddie, and Lil Rel Howery as Nick in Dashing Through the Snow.

Steve Dietl/Disney+

Here’s where Dashing Through the Snow takes a hard left turn: Santa has been apprised of some information that would lead to the downfall of local congressman Conrad Harf (Oscar Nuñez), a cruel man that has been accepting bribes and sending his workers out on Christmas Eve to get him more money. You’re reading that right: A half hour into Dashing Through the Snow, the cheery holiday movie morphs into a political thriller. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Christmas Carol. No, that would be too predictable for Ludacris.

The hijinks that follow are all over the place—and if I was a little lost, kids will likely have no grasp of the plot. But that’s quite alright: Watching Ludacris and Santa solve political corruption together needn’t be a gripping mystery. The set-up is entertaining enough. Charlotte, Eddie, and St. Nick enlist help from a team of Santa trackers, crash a big political soiree, and attempt to mend the Garrick family bonds before the clock strikes midnight and Christmas arrives.

The biggest mystery of all? Whether or not Santa, who has done nothing other than wear the bright red hat and whisper sweet nothings about Mrs. Claus, is actually who he says he is. For the first half of the movie, it seemed as though maybe, just maybe, there was no fantastical element to Dashing Through the Snow, and that “Santa” was lying about his identity to secure a solid relationship with someone in the Atlanta PD and take down the congressman. As an audience, we don’t know how much to believe from this Santa fellow, which is a welcome twist on both the genre and the magical icon. This Santa is a bit of a weirdo, and paired with Ludacris—whose brows remained furrowed throughout the entire runtime—they’re an unstoppable team.

Teyonah Parris as Allison, Madison Skye Validum as Charlotte, and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges as Eddie in DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW

Teyonah Parris as Allison, Madison Skye Validum as Charlotte, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Eddie in Dashing Through the Snow.

Steve Dietl

Dashing Through the Snow is everything a Christmas movie should be: short, chipper, red, and green. Ludacris and Howery put an exciting spin on the cliché grumpy-to-gleeful arc, and the film even gives Santa a new career in fighting white collar crimes. The holiday romp may be remembered as nothing more than “the Ludacris Christmas movie,” but that’s exactly what it set out to be in the first place. Merry Ludacrismas to all, and to all a helluva night.

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