New festive films for 2023 starring Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Garner and Ludacris

Grab a spot on the sofa, gather the family for some holiday cheer and stream any of these newcomers

From left, Ed Helms, Brady Noon, Emma Myers and Jennifer Garner in Family Switch. Photo: Netflix
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When it comes to Christmas movies, everyone knows the classics – Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually.

Those looking to freshen up the festive watchlist can add these newcomers, which include family body swaps and competitive Christmas capers.

Candy Cane Lane

A friendly local festive competition spins wildly out of control in this film starring Eddie Murphy and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Murphy stars as Chris Carver, a family man who is determined to win his neighbourhood’s annual home decoration competition.

While hanging the lights and digging out the decorations, he meets mischievous elf Pepper (Jillian Bell) whose seemingly innocent offer to help him win brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life.

Cue plenty of geese-a-laying, lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking chaos as Carver rallies his family to come together and put a stop to Pepper’s antics.

Streaming now on Amazon Prime

Best. Christmas. Ever!

When Charlotte Sanders (Heather Graham) receives the annual holiday newsletter from her former college friend Jackie Jennings (Brandy), reading about the Jennings family’s achievements and humble brags is too much for her to take.

Determined to prove everything in the newsletter is a lie, she and her family, husband Rob (Jason Biggs) and children Grant (Wyatt Hunt) and Dora (Abby Villasmil), end up on Jackie’s doorstep for the holidays, and Sanders makes it her mission to uncover what she believes is the Jennings’s hidden dysfunction.

Streaming now on Netflix

Dashing Through the Snow

Ludacris, real name Chris Bridges, stars in this comedy as divorced social worker Eddie Garrick with a grudge against Christmas. It stems from a traumatic Santa-related childhood incident.

While spending time with his daughter Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum) over the holidays, they encounter a man named Nick (Lil Rel Howery) who claims to be the real Father Christmas. They take him to the hospital thinking he’s delusional.

When three baddies – a snowman, an elf and a nutcracker – turn up intent on kidnapping Nick, Eddie and Charlotte are soon caught up in a conspiracy to silence Santa and they must help in any way they can.

Streaming now on Disney+


After deciding to travel home to spend the holidays with his family, Graham’s (Robbie Amell) plans are upended when he arrives to find his ex-fiancee Ali (Leighton Meester) in situ.

They might have broken up, but Graham’s family still love Ali and want her to stay.

When the battling exes decide there’s only room for one, they’ll stop at nothing to oust the other including during super-competitive games nights and a stressful bake-off.

Streaming now on Amazon Prime

Family Switch

Starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms, Family Switch successfully mixes Christmas, family and body swaps aplenty.

After another evening with the whole family spent staring at their phones, Jess Walker (Garner) starts to worry they’ve become disconnected.

After wishing they could each know what it feels like to be a different member of the family, Jess, her husband Bill (Helms) and their children CC (Emma Myers) and Wyatt (Brady Noon) wake up in different bodies.

With just 24 hours to heal their family rifts or they stay stuck in the wrong body for ever, they race to find their way back to one another. There are plenty of slapstick and inter-generational jokes against a festive backdrop.

Streaming now on Netflix

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever

With just two weeks to go until Christmas, Greg Heffley (Wesley Kimmel) is on his best behaviour in order to get the gaming system his parents have promised him.

But when he and Rowley (Spencer Howell) trigger a giant snowball, he’s forced to hide out at home so no one finds out it was them.

When a giant blizzard traps him in the house with nothing to do but hang out with his family, Heffley must face up to the fact he might not be able to cover up his crime and may have to say bye to his longed-for gift.

Coming December 8, Disney+

Merry Little Batman

This animated movie expands the Bat Family story. It focuses on Damian Wayne aka Little Batman (Yonas Kibreab) after he's left alone at Wayne Manor on Christmas Eve.

When dad Bruce (Luke Wilson) is called away to help the Justice League, Gotham’s worst villains, including The Joker (David Hornsby), Poison Ivy (Therese McLaughlin) and Mr Freeze (Dolph Adomian) unite to steal Christmas. Damian then dons the bat suit, transforms into Little Batman and takes on the baddies.

Coming December 8, Amazon Prime

The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday

This festive spin-off of last year's animated hit The Bad Guys brings back favourite characters Mr Wolf (Michael Godere), Mr Shark (Ezekiel Ajeigbe), Mr Piranha (Raul Ceballos) and more.

The rag-tag group of no one’s favourite animals inadvertently cause Christmas to be cancelled when they ruin a festive parade.

The ensuing city shutdown puts paid to their plans to rob the bank and so they decide to “cheer up the city so we can rob it Christmas morning". But maybe they can learn to be a little bit good along the way.

Streaming now on Netflix

Updated: December 02, 2023, 5:38 AM