Unemployed single mum Nicky Talbot (Alicia Witt) wants to give her young daughter a special Christmas and on hearing that Cartwright's department store is hiring staff for the festive season shows up for an interview. It is there that she meets Bill (Gabriel Hogan) a handsome store manager who picked up her glowing CV when she dropped it. Unfortunately for Nicky, Bill's interest doesn't go unnoticed by VP Fiona (Gabrielle Miller) who with a crush on Bill rejects Nicky without giving her a chance. But as Nicky leaves she finds herself lost and in the staff changing room where through what first seems to be a mix up is mistaken for the store's new Santa. Now having got the job as store Santa Nicky is going to hide who she is from everyone including Bill who she ends up going out on a date with after they keep on bumping in to each other away from work.
I don't know why but I am a bit at a loss for words when it comes to "Christmas at Cartwright's" as something about it just didn't work for me. Now before I go on I will say now it is pretty much on par with what you expect from a light hearted made for TV Christmas movie. You can guess who will end up with who, which nasty character will get their comeuppance and so on and so forth and in truth for the most it doesn't really deliver anything out of the ordinary including the twist with a mysterious and comical character who shows up and seems to be behind a few seeming coincidences.
But then there is the unusual bit and "Christmas at Cartwright's" features a woman who ends up masquerading as a store Santa and keeping it a secret. I can't remember watching another movie with a female store Santa and technically it is a nicely worked idea which ties in with the mystery character. But whilst I know this is light entertainment and not realism the falseness of Alicia Witt dressed in a Santa costume and going Ho Ho Ho with a deep voice was just not right. It is a shame because Witt and Hogan work well together and Wallace Shawn is a lot of fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas at Cartwright's" is okay, it is the sort of Christmas movie you watch once, enjoy for the most and then move on from with no desire to revisit next time it appears on TV.