Monday 18 December 2017

Becoming Santa (2015)

Not to be confused with the documentary from 2011, this is a fun TV movie that covers familiar ground (don't they all?) but does so with a lot of fun to offset the usual overdose of sweetness.

Laura Bell Bundy stars as Holly Claus, a lovely woman with a surname that hasn't made her boyfriend/fiance (Connor, played by Jesse Hutch) wonder more about her parents. In fact, he remains comically oblivious when they finally go to meet Mr & Mrs Claus (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter, respectively), despite them both looking pretty much exactly as you'd expect THE Mr & Mrs Claus to look. It eventually becomes clear that the man who marries Holly is expected to take over the family business, which looks set to be disastrous as Connor attempts to pass a number of tests without realising their significance. He also has to contend with a pesky ex-boyfriend on the scene (Jack Frost, played by Tony Cavalero).

Written by Barbara Kymlicka (who has a number of these things under her belt) and directed by Christie Will Wolf (who also has decent back catalogue in this field, including at least one other working from a script by Kymlicka), Becoming Santa is a very good dollop of Christmas cheer. Yes, it's worth reminding readers once again that I judge Christmas TV movies a lot more generously than I judge many other films, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that a few good Christmas TV movies manage to be genuinely good. Like this one.

It has everything you want from a Christmas film - Santa, elves, romance, toys, reindeer, magic, cookies - and it also has very enjoyable performances from all of the leads. Bundy and Hutch make an appealing couple, Gross is effective enough as Santa, Baxter is very good, and Cavalero is just the right mix of amusing and dastardly in the role of Jack Frost.

Highlights include the trials to become Santa, the sneaky undermining from Jack Frost, the naivete of Connor, and the pleasant sprinkling of magic throughout that keeps this firmly in the realm of easygoing Christmas fantasy family fare (not to be confused with the Christmas fantasy non-family fare that can be found just by searching for the likes of "Santa's sexy little helper", for example - so I have heard *ahem*).

I would certainly rewatch this one, even without being forced into it, and I will look forward to anything else that stars Bundy and Hutch (who seems to relish this kind of role more than bing stuck in some dire Steven Seagal vehicle), who both make for some of the most appealing leads I have seen in the holiday TV movie season this year.

Here is a large selection of Christmas movies to enjoy.
And American elves can pick the same set up here.


No comments:

Post a Comment