Movie Reviews

Grumpy Old Santa Review: A Heartwarming Comedy with Some Hiccups

Jay Dee Walters’ Grumpy Old Santa is a comedy film that attempts to blend heartwarming drama with uproarious humor. Starring Glenn Morshower as Nic, a devoted family man who finds himself navigating the tricky waters of dating after his wife leaves, the film has moments of genuine charm and hilarity. However, it also stumbles in some areas, leaving it with a mixed reception overall. Read on for my Grumpy Old Santa review.

The Good In Grumpy Old Santa Review: 

Grumpy Old Santa (2023).

The film kicks off by introducing us to Nic, a middle-aged man who seemingly has it all: a loving family, a passion for fishing and bowling, and a tight-knit group of friends. However, Nic’s world is turned upside down when his wife leaves him after their children have flown the nest. This setup creates a compelling premise as we watch Nic grapple with loneliness and heartache. Glenn Morshower delivers a commendable performance, bringing depth and authenticity to his character’s emotional journey.

One of the film’s strongest aspects is its exploration of the complexities of dating and relationships in middle age. Nic’s decision to secretly date Pastor Kris’s (Kevin Farley) sister adds a layer of comedic tension to the story. Kevin Farley’s portrayal of Pastor Kris, a well-meaning but overbearing friend, is a highlight of the film. Farley’s comedic timing and over-the-top antics inject humor into every scene he’s in, creating many of the film’s laugh-out-loud moments.

Grumpy Old Santa also excels in capturing the essence of small-town life, particularly in the scenes at the local bowling alley and fishing spot. These settings serve as the backdrop for much of the film’s humor and provide a sense of familiarity and nostalgia for the audience. The interactions between Nic and his bowling buddies and fishing pals are both heartwarming and amusing, showcasing the power of friendship to heal wounds and provide much-needed comic relief.

The film’s comedic elements are generally well-executed, and the script has moments of witty humor. However, it occasionally relies on clichéd jokes and predictable gags, which can feel stale. While the film’s humor is generally light-hearted, it occasionally veers into the realm of slapstick, which might not appeal to all viewers. Some viewers may also find the humor uneven, with some scenes feeling forced or out of place within the overall narrative.

The heartwarming aspect of the film is where it truly shines. As Nic navigates the challenges of dating, he begins to rediscover his own identity and the importance of self-love. The film’s message about finding happiness in unexpected places and embracing change is both touching and relatable.

The Bad Part Of The Grumpy Old Santa Review: 

Grumpy Old Santa (2023).

Despite its strong points, Grumpy Old Santa does have some notable flaws. The pacing of the film can feel uneven at times, with certain scenes dragging on while others rush through important character developments. Additionally, the film occasionally introduces subplots that don’t receive adequate resolution, leaving loose ends that could have been better tied up.

Another issue lies in the film’s predictability. From the moment Nic starts dating his best friend’s sister, it’s clear where the story is headed, and the plot unfolds in a fairly formulaic manner. While romantic comedies often follow a predictable structure, Grumpy Old Santa could have benefited from some more unexpected twists to keep the audience engaged.

The film’s production values are serviceable, with adequate cinematography and a fitting, if somewhat forgettable, musical score. The direction by Jay Dee Walters is competent, but it doesn’t bring a distinct visual style to the film. The lack of visual flair contributes to the overall sense that Grumpy Old Santa is a conventional and safe comedy-drama.

In terms of character development, Nic’s transformation throughout the film is well-executed, but some of the supporting characters remain one-dimensional. Nic’s children, for instance, feel underdeveloped and lack depth, which limits our emotional investment in their subplots. This missed opportunity to explore the impact of Nic’s divorce on his family members is a notable drawback.


Grumpy Old Santa is a comedy-drama that offers moments of genuine heartwarming charm and humor. Glenn Morshower and Kevin Farley deliver strong performances, and the film effectively explores the challenges of dating and finding love in middle age. However, it falls short in terms of originality, pacing, and character development, which ultimately prevent it from reaching its full potential. If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy with a heartwarming message, Grumpy Old Santa may provide some entertainment, but don’t expect it to break new ground in the genre.

  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 6.5/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 4/10
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