If you love the mischief of Home Alone and the North Pole splendor of The Santa Clause, you won’t want to miss Disney’s latest holiday feature, The Naughty Nine. The film sees a group of kids organize a North Pole heist after Santa doesn’t bring them any Christmas presents. However, in the process of finding their gifts, the gang discovers that the best way off the naughty list is to redirect their unique talents for good instead of mischief.
There’s no shortage of Christmas movies out there, but The Naughty Nine still manages to give the holiday season a fun and fresh twist. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a heist film?
Like any good heist movie, The Naughty Nine opens with Andy (Winslow Fegley) and his best friend and right-hand woman Dulce (Camila Rodriguez) teaming up for a bit of carefully orchestrated theft. Together, they outwit the school principal and teachers to get their hands on the school’s collection of confiscated items. Andy and Dulce then redisburse the confiscated goods back to the other kids — for a fee, of course.
It’s a great little intro that pulls you into the world and gives you a feel for the characters. Of course, it also makes it clear how Andy and Dulce end up on Santa’s naughty list. When Christmas rolls around and Santa stiffs them on presents, Andy concocts a plan to get those gifts anyway.
That’s right — it’s time to heist Santa’s workshop in the North Pole! To pull off this scheme of epic proportions, Andy knows he’ll need an impressive crew. So, he and Dulce start assembling the team: other kids on the naughty list with the skills they need to succeed in their mission. The recruits include Andy’s gymnast sister Laurel (Madilyn Kellam), tech expert Lewis (Anthony Joo), animal whisperer Rose (Clara Stack), getaway driver Ha-Yoon (Imogen Cohen), fashion designer Jon Anthony (Deric McCabe), and little Albert (Ayden Elijah), whose superpower is getting what he wants just by being exceedingly adorable.
The Naughty Nine brings together its multi-genre story well. (It’s a comedy, a Christmas story, a heist film, and a Disney Channel kids movie.) The characters are fun and distinctive, and each one gets a moment to shine as they contribute to the heist. The costuming and sets for the North Pole setting are bright and full of Christmas cheer; they really draw you into the world of the story. Plus, you can’t help but enjoy a little bit of holiday mischief.
And of course, you can’t have a successful Christmas movie without a lot of heart. The Naughty Nine brings that too, as our group of naughty list kids address their bad behaviors and the insecurities that drive them. Andy and his sister Laurel, usually at odds, learn to come together and support one another.
Overall, The Naughty Nine is just a very fun, sweet option to add to your family’s rotation of Christmas flicks this season. The characters are charming, and it offers up plenty of mischief and Christmas cheer from start to finish. You can’t help but have a good time watching this one.
The Naughty Nine premieres on Disney Channel November 22. It will begin streaming on Disney+ November 23.