Holiday Watch: Dear Santa (2011)

Crystal (Amy Acker) is an ambition-challenged woman who is unexpectedly united with a girl’s letter to Santa. In the letter, the girl asks for a new wife for her dad, one that would also be a suitable follow-on to her revered late-mother. When greeted by fate in this way, what’s a poor rich woman to do?

Actually, Crystal might not be rich for much longer. Her head-on-a-laptop mother is going to cut her off from the money unless Crystal finds a direction in life. Any direction. With that little push, and a personal sense that maybe fate did send the letter her way, Crystal sets out to fulfill the girl’s wish.

From this setup follows a fairly predictable script. Crystal first lightly surveils  Derek and Olivia Gowen (David Hadyn-Jones and Emma Duke) before following Derek to a soup kitchen that he runs. From there, Crystal grows as a person as she befriends the homeless, and ingratiates herself with Derek and Olivia.

The main obstacle is Jilian (Gina Holden), the woman Derek dumped so as to pursue and marry the love of his life and mother of his child. Jilian is basically a shallow, older “mean girl”. While not played over-the-top, it’s still amazing that Derek can’t see through her facade like everyone else can. Still, the character lacks enough depth for the audience to care. She’s just a 2-d plot device.

The movie is a measured-build to an inevitable conclusion. You can see a lot of the resolutions from a kilometer away. Yes, the movie takes its time to develop, but it’s neither slow nor rushed. I think it could have been helped by the addition of a few scenes to force the pace a bit. It certainly could have used one or two scenes for a proper denouement to augment the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ending the story finished with.

Because I enjoy watching Amy Acker’s work, I’ll revisit this movie from time-to-time. If you aren’t an Amy Acker fan, this is pretty average, but pleasant fare. The plot isn’t anything spectacular and there isn’t anything that elevates it from the crowd. Still, you should give it a chance. It’s not a bad movie, it just isn’t a great one.

  
Story:★★★★¼ 
Acting:★★★★☆ 
Antagonist:★★★☆☆ 
Denouement:★★☆ 
Overall:★★★¾☆ 
3.75 of 5 

Photo: Image Entertainment

For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies

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