Arthur Christmas

Rated 3.0

Santa Claus’ klutzy younger son (voice by James McAvoy) takes it on himself to deliver a lost present that fell between the cracks of his big brother’s (Hugh Laurie) hyper-efficient delivery system. The script by Peter Baynham and director Sarah Smith cleverly grafts the legend of King Arthur onto Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) and his family (including Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton), but the movie is too clever by half. The best Christmas movies have a kind of humility about them that’s lacking here; this one is like a 10-year-old prodigy with ADHD, too pleased with himself to be quite the genius he thinks he is. Still, it’s pleasant enough if you’re in an indulgent mood, with a Christmas-candy sparkle that twinkles now and then when the characters stop zooming about and cracking jokes for the grownups.