Anna Parisi is a struggling artist who wants to eliminate the “struggling” part of that description. Inspired by her sister’s comments about her gift-selection acumen, she decides to try something new and markets herself as a personal shopper. She’s hired by an overworked ad executive who desperately needs her to find the 12 Gifts of Christmas and then some.
Anna’s (Katrina Law) first assignment from ad-exec Marc Rehnquist (Aaron O’Connell) is to get a smart watch for his oldest friend, with whom he’s been on a yearly gift-topping contest. Anna switches up the gift and is immediately shown the door…at least until a mix-up ends up sending the gift to the friend anyway. When he gushes about it, Marc quickly rehires his personal shopper.
As the shopping project continues, Anna spends more and more time with Marc as a subterfuge for her to get to know the desires of the recipients better. This eventually results in him bringing her to meet his family on several occasions. Romance seems assured until he steps over the line and uses one of her paintings without permission. Now it’s Anna who has to decide what, exactly, it is that she wants.
Without a doubt, one of the most appreciated aspects of this movie is its lack of a contrived antagonist. There is no obvious villain, mustache-twirling or otherwise. Instead, the conflict is an internal one — Anna is struggling with her professional expectations conflicting with her actual gifts. That she’s talented as an artist, shopper, and illustrator, makes it that much harder for her to see her right path.
Marc, on the other hand, sees the paths, it’s just external demands that make him focus more on the path to a solution instead of the importance of the journey. He and Anna together smooth out each other’s rough spots without any superfluous drama.
The single biggest weakness of the movie is probably the score. Unlike with many other films, it’s not lacking. It’s quantity is just about right. Unfortunately, it’s quality is somewhat off. Aside from the number of generic carols, the fault primarily rests on the mixing — the volume is often high enough that you notice the score more than you should.
As I mentioned, there really isn’t an overt antagonist. For this story, that works just fine.
12 Gifts of Christmas is a well-paced, straightforward romance that evolves nicely, without overt manipulation. It’s a little predictable at times, but isn’t formulaic. The only real knock is that the score is a little obvious. If you want a solid and comfortable holiday romance, I recommend you carve out a couple of hours and enjoy the ride.
|3.75 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Fred Hayes