This was a very cute movie starring the talented Alicia Witt playing a down on her luck single mom who is “magicked” into being the store Santa Claus by an angel disguised as a visiting corporate bigwig. Nicki is perfect for the role even though no one knows she is a woman in her Santa suit and stuffing. The kids and parents love her because she seems to know exactly what they need for Christmas as well as being just a warm nurturing person. Store sales boom. She attracts the attention of a department manager who thinks she is just a regular store employee. They are attracted to each other right away, but Nicki is reluctant to tell him she is his Store Santa Claus. The lie becomes a source of tension and suspense.
Wallace Shawn is simply wonderful as the Angel who guides Nicki and thwarts Fiona, who plays the jealous villainess, at every turn. Gabrielle Miller is funny as always playing officious humorless snob. She suspects something is strange about the new store Santa and isn’t too fond of Nicki either. She is determined to get her fired and away from the guy she has been flirting with and starts investigating the too good to be true Santa. When she starts to make the connection we know she will stop at nothing even though the store owner is thrilled with Santa and his popularity. We never really fear for Nicki, because, after all, God is on her side. So we just sit back and enjoy Fiona’s machinations knowing her comeuppance is on the way.
The only fly in the ointment is Gabriel Hogan who plays the love interest. I found him bland and uninteresting without a noticeable spark with the inimitable Ms Witt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie starring her that I did not like.
November 29, 2021