You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Santa and Pete

Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. "Santa and Pete" has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. Cronyn may not be quite the right weight for the part, and the facial hair is too sparse to really even consider, but he's got that gentle, generous spirit thing down pat.

With:
Saint Nick - Hume Cronyn Pete - Flex Alexander Maria - Tempestt Bledsoe Grandpa - James Earl Jones Marlene - Emily Mae Young Terrence - Sedrathe Gillespie Cassie - Erica Gimpel James Moore - Benjamin Brown Janet - Tracy Douglas Elizabeth - Ruth deSosa Rev. Bogart - David Purdham Henry Rutgers - Ray Thornton With: Miguel Perez, Herb Mitchell, Ted Rooney, Bruce Young, Rhyon Nicole Brown, Billy Daydodge

Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. Cronyn may not be quite the right weight for the part, and the facial hair is too sparse to really even consider, but he’s got that gentle, generous spirit thing down pat.

Story is based on a book, which is in turn based on a Dutch legend, and relates how St. Nicholas met up with a young Moor named Pete (stand-up comic Flex Alexander) to forge the Kris Kringle traditions about chimney descending, reindeer-driven sleigh riding and all of that stuff.

Scribe Greg Taylor’s adapted teleplay unfurls the story in flashback as a Christmas Eve yarn being spun by a recent widower named Nicholas Mann (James Earl Jones), who is apparently no relation to the saint with whom he shares a first name. Cronyn’s character is introduced as having first been a Christian bishop persecuted for his Christianity and falsely arrested then imprisoned for espionage. Pete is the prison cook who befriends Nick and helps spring him from jail.

Together, Nick and Pete set out for the New World on a pilgrimage to spread the joy of Christmas to a spiritually needy hamlet. The bright red flannel suit, the frantic retail orgy of gift-buying, the tradition of strewing homes in flammable colored lights and the practice of scaring toddlers half to death by making them sit on Santa’s lap in shopping malls would all come much later. Initially, Santa and his partner Pete merely served as missionaries of merriment while bickering amongst themselves about issues such as how to enter a locked home.

It’s never really made clear just where such a bizarre legend detailing Santa’s little-known partnership may have emerged from. But it’s all very fun, with helmer Duwayne Dunham working hard (often in vain) to keep his players from overprojecting. But Cronyn is a genuine delight, as always, and Alexander ain’t half bad for a stand-up comedian playing second fiddle to Santa.

“Santa and Pete” is sweet and wholesome holiday entertainment, even when its sleigh falls a reindeer or two short of efficient operation.

Tech credits are all fine.

Santa and Pete

CBS; Sun. Dec. 5, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by the Polson Co. Executive producer, Beth Polson; director, Duwayne Dunham; writer, Greg Taylor; based on the book "Santa & Pete" by Christopher Moore and Pamela Johnson.

Crew: Camera, John Newby; production designer , David Ford; editor, Jonathan Shaw; music, Alan Williams; costume designer, JuliAnne DeChaine; sound, Steuart P. Pearce; casting, Melinda Gartzman. Running time: 120 MIN.

With: Saint Nick - Hume Cronyn Pete - Flex Alexander Maria - Tempestt Bledsoe Grandpa - James Earl Jones Marlene - Emily Mae Young Terrence - Sedrathe Gillespie Cassie - Erica Gimpel James Moore - Benjamin Brown Janet - Tracy Douglas Elizabeth - Ruth deSosa Rev. Bogart - David Purdham Henry Rutgers - Ray Thornton With: Miguel Perez, Herb Mitchell, Ted Rooney, Bruce Young, Rhyon Nicole Brown, Billy DaydodgeCamera, John Newby; production designer, David Ford; editor, Jonathan Shaw; music, Alan Williams; costume designer, JuliAnne DeChaine; sound, Steuart P. Pearce; casting, Melinda Gartzman. Running time: 120 MIN.

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper Robert De Niro

    Bradley Cooper on His Secret Pact With Lady Gaga for 'A Star is Born'

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • The seagull

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Seagull'

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • Verne TroyerStarkey Hearing Foundation Awards Gala,

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers,' Dies at 49

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • 'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts

    'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts as 'Last Jedi' Slips to No. 2

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • Stockholm review

    Tribeca Film Review: Ethan Hawke in 'Stockholm'

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

  • Hans Zimmer90th Annual Academy Awards, Roaming

    Hans Zimmer to Receive Steiner Award at Hollywood in Vienna Gala

    Yuletide telepic delivers the requisite amount of heartwarming cheer without being too painfully maudlin, which is about as much as we can ask from one of these made-for-joy holiday diversions. “Santa and Pete” has the added benefit of allowing us a rare glimpse of the still-feisty Hume Cronyn in the role of Saint Nick himself. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content