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‘Dashing Through the Snow’ Review: Lil Rel Howery Plays a Hustler Who May Be Santa in One of Those Christmas Trifles That’s Hard to Resist

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Owen Gleiberman Chief Film Critic In “Dashing Through the Snow,” Lil Rel Howery has the off-the-cuff funk energy of a hustler who’s so quick that you believe his spiel before you’ve had the chance to outthink it.

The whole issue of believing is key to the movie, since Howery plays Santa Claus — or, perhaps, a petty criminal who’s pretending to be Santa Claus.

The character calls himself Nick, and he’s dressed as a variation on the old-school Victorian Santa: half-frame glasses, a coat festooned with gold buttons and paramilitary shoulder flaps, a vest of gold finery, along with a few token bits of street cool (pearl earring, two-tone beard, fingerless leather gloves).

Howery’s line readings sound improvised, and that’s a good thing. He’s the ebullient, fast-talking spark plug of a formula comedy with a cheap engine, though one that putters along harmlessly enough.

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