Free the Tense
I will always prioritize movies that star Steve Lund, so I gave this a chance. Also, I wanted to exorcise the memory of the horror that was his other 2022 Christmas Movie in which Steve was dumped by the widow that wasn’t.
I liked the concept of this Lifetime movie and our heroine Steph’s personal Christmas project, Six Degrees of Santa. It’s kind of a Christmas gift chain letter. Santa#1 buys a gift that is meaningful to them and gives it anonymously to a stranger or a friend who in turn does the same. The sixth recipient gets to keep it. Steph’s own Santa#1 gift eventually reaches a tech mogul she despises. But he is touched by the gift which is a book that meant a lot to him as a child. He reaches out to Steph, who is easy to find because her project has gone viral with people all over the world. He wants to find the person who bought the gift originally, thinking that they will have a real connection because of the book they have in common. Steph wants nothing to do with him so she lies and tells him the original buyer is her shallow social media-obsessed next-door neighbor. She sets him up with her.
I loved Steve Lund in this but didn’t care for the actress who played Steph, or her character. Firstly, the choice of cosmetics for this movie did not suit her looks. I read her impressive bio, and Kathryn Davis appears to be a beautiful and multi-talented performer. I even liked her in another movie, but just didn’t care for her or her character in this one. Her delivery seemed anxious, tense, and high-strung. She talked in a too-fast staccato manner. I just wanted to tell her to calm down. As for her character, Steph’s whole relationship with Steve was based on a lie. She started to fall for him and see his true self underneath the surface, but wouldn’t tell him the truth. That premise for a plot is boring and is used far too often. Plus, her character is not too bright about how to make the most of her idea. She was blind and stubborn until the very end. Her mother accuses her of not being able to see the forest for the trees and she was absolutely right. It was too frustrating. I liked her family, including her ex-husband. Full disclosure: I fast-forwarded through much of this because I saw exactly where this was going and I didn’t have the patience for still another “just tell the truth!” plotline. Also, the premise that any single woman, let alone two, would not want to date a handsome billionaire who is also a nice guy played by Steve Freaking Lund was just too ludicrous.