A Santa Movie on the Nice List
As a movie reviewer watching the same old storyline again and again can be disheartening but it's not always the case because even something unoriginal and cliche can still be entertaining. Take Christmas movies, I've lost track of the number of movies I have watched about Santa delivering presents, single women finding love and of course the regular favourite of the secret gift giver. That brings me to the 2003 TV movie "Secret Santa" because this is yet another secret gift giver movie and a completely cliche one at that as Jennie Garth plays an investigative reporter looking to uncover the identity of a town's Secret Santa. But being predictable and cliche is not at issue because "Secret Santa" is heart-warming and full of the spirit of giving and so if like me you like nice, heart-warming Christmas movies then the chances are you will be entertained.
Indianapolis journalist Rebecca Chandler (Jennie Garth - The Last Cowboy) is looking forward to spending Christmas in Maui with her boyfriend who she suspects is planning to propose. So when he shows up late for a date and says he has met someone else it leaves her heartbroken and with nothing better to do than work the Christmas period. Thanks to her Editor that means heading to the small-town of Hamden to do the annual piece on their Secret Santa. Except this time Rebecca is determined to discover who the mystery gift giver really is in the town where it is like Christmas every day.
This pretty much goes against everything I believe in when it comes to movie reviewing but certain movies are not about story, acting, characters, dialogue or originality but are purely driven by how they make you feel. "Secret Santa" is one of those movies because if you don't want heart-warming emotion then you are most likely going to hate the majority of it. But if you do want that fuzzy, traditional Christmas feeling then "Secret Santa" is a pleasant little movie, a nice distraction during an afternoon leading up to Christmas day.
Anyway as to storyline well as already pointed out we are in the unoriginal territory of a secret gift giver with a journalist trying to uncover who it is. Whilst we watch Rebecca follow the obvious leads to who she thinks it is, it becomes quite obvious very quickly who it is. And trust me if you don't pick up on who it is the first time the less than subtle second hint is like being slapped in the face with a Christmas stocking.
But it doesn't matter because it is fun, it is fun watching Rebecca going down the wrong path in her investigation, it is heart-warming to hear about the generous gifts and the way it makes you feel. And whilst it is completely predictable the semi romantic subplot is what you expect and is also nice. Even the series of cliche characters such as Jennie Garth as the pretty Rebecca is nice.
What this all boils down to is that "Secret Santa" is a nice, feel good, heart warming little Christmas movie. It's not brilliant, it's not even memorable but if you like heart-warming Christmas movies it is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.