Undercover with Gertz
So whilst "Undercover Christmas" is a Christmas movie it is a reworking of that old favourite, the fake partner storyline. In more recent years we have had Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in "The Proposal" but there have been a variety of other movies which work with the same idea. Unfortunately "Undercover Christmas" works through the formula in a predictable manner with the amusement coming from a trashy woman thrown into a well to do home whilst of course the strangers end up falling for each other. To put it simply "Undercover Christmas" is just some Christmas fluff but it is certainly entertaining thanks to the stunning Jami Gertz.
Having arrested Scott Shift (Cameron Bancroft) and his family for conning old folks out of money, FBI agent Jake Cunningham (Shawn Christian) knows their case rests on Shift's girlfriend Brandi O'Neill (Jami Gertz - Twister) testifying against him. But despite this he is less than amused when he is ordered to baby-sit Brandi and keep her protected over Christmas. To make matters worse Jake receives a call from his mother Anne (Tyne Daly) to say his father has had a heart attack and whilst Jake and his father don't get on he is forced to take Brandi to his parent's for Christmas under the pretence she is her girlfriend. On seeing Brandi his mum thinks she is gold digging trash with no social etiquette but begins to change her mind as they spend time together.
So for all the set up which not only includes the whole protective custody thing as well as Jake's issues with a disapproving father "Undercover Christmas" really comes down to two things; Jami Gertz playing Brandi as a fish out of water in a well to do family and of course the romance between Jake and Brandi. It never strays from the path well travelled by other fake relationhip movies and so there is plenty of comedy featuring Brandi winding up Jake's well to do mother before they bond. And then after a miraculous transformation when Brandi has a make over we have the whole romance thing between Jake and Brandi. The only slight twist is when Jake's disapproving father learns the truth that Brandi is a witness and they had been lied to.
But whilst all of this makes "Undercover Christmas" nothing more than routine it is entertaining thanks to the casting, mainly that of Jami Gertz and Tyne Daly. The casting of Daly as the well to do Anne Cunningham is genius especially for those who remember her as the fast talking Mary Beth Lacey in "Cagney & Lacey" as it is so different that you can't believe it is the same person. But whilst there is also Shawn Christian and Winston Rekert the star of the movie is Jami Gertz who is amusing as the initially trashy Brandi but looks stunning when she has the makeover.
What this all boils down to is that "Undercover Christmas" is nothing more than a typical piece of Christmas fluff which works through an often used theme of a fake relationship but it is an entertaining time passer.