Secret Santa and Mr. Hyde
Widow Jamie, played by Jennie Garth, is inspired to become a Secret Santa to her town. With a seemingly limitless pocketbook, she successfully provides a Christmas Tree to the town, replenishes the local food bank’s coffers, and provides a needy family with the Christmas of their dreams. Her good works catch the attention of a local anchorman who makes it his business to unmask the do-gooder. Jamie has admired him from afar and is thrilled yet nervous to have gotten his attention. He unsurprisingly is attracted to her as well. Jennie does very well in this. She is warm, amusing, and relatable as a shy older woman getting a second chance at love. Emily Tennant is good as her married daughter, who along with Jamie’s employee, Colleen, figures out their mother and boss is the mysterious Santa. They work together to help Mom in her mission and also to help her avoid exposure.
There were some serious problems with the male lead character played by normally likable Cameron Mathison. Anchorman Scott, like Jamie, has some mysterious source of limitless income. Local anchormen do not make a lot of money. Yet he buys out a whole expensive restaurant in order to dine alone with the winsome Jamie. Given the theme of this movie it seemed wasteful and indulgent given all of the good Christmas causes the money could have been spent on. Second, he is thoroughly taken in by an obvious imposter who falsely confesses to being S. S. He is really a gullible idiot in this scene, compounded by the fact that he is supposed to be a seasoned journalist.
The third strike is his harsh reaction when Jamie finally confesses that she is the Secret Santa. He turns on her on a dime screaming at her “You lied to me!” and acts like a crazy jerk. His change of personality comes out of nowhere, is totally out of character, and is shocking. He even accuses the modest and reticent Jamie of “doing it all for the publicity,” which makes zero sense. To make matters even weirder, the next day he provides a trip to Paris for her daughter’s honeymoon. I mean, why? when he seemingly now feels betrayed by her mother and Emily confessed she was all part of it? (And again, where is all this fundage coming from?) Jamie ends up apologizing and groveling when it should have been the other way around. All of this honestly ruined the integrity of the movie and brought a sweet story way down in my estimation. It would have been at least a “7”
December 6, 2021