A Gift Wrapped Christmas
Gwen is a personal shopper with a personal touch and can find the perfect gift for every client. But her skills are tested by a workaholic single father whose relationship with his son is as uninspired as his clothes. Can she get him into the Christmas spirit while getting him into new threads…and can she figure out what she needs for herself?
Opens w/ City Scene
Cute, Precocious Child
Hate Becomes Love
Tree Buy & Trim
The longest debate between a rating of “Very Merry” and “Merry” occurred after watching “A Gift Wrapped Christmas.” Is the plot too simple, or is it focused and intentional? Did our leading lady get enough screen time, or is the balance of the male lead’s transformation needed for the story? And is it Christmas-y enough? But Santa always finds a way, and he did!!
It got a little heated (as any good discussion about Christmas movie merits is). Your only takeaway should be “Watch this one.”
Career-Driven personal shopper, Gwen (Meredith Hagner, flawless) goes the extra mile when buying gifts for her clients. So when she’s assigned stodgy, joyless WidowerCharlie Baker, their styles clash. Only when Gwen’s personal touch translates to good business (who isn’t a softer negotiator because of a thoughtful gift basket?) does Charlie succumb to her charms.
The central conflict is Charlie’s Evil Fiance, who sees their relationship as a perfect business transaction. Mix in Charlie’s Cute, Precocious Son, who adores Gwen and wants a Christmas the way it used to be when his mother was alive, and you have yourself a formulaic but effective plot.
What pushes this movie to the top of any list is the cast. Meredith Hagner could easily dominate the Christmas movie genre (shh… don’t tell Candace or Lacey). Her perkiness will hit you in the face but you’ll warm to how honest and selfless that perkiness seems. And good child actors are hard to come by. Anthony Bolognese is adorable, has great timing, and reminds you of how it feels to be a child during the Christmas season.
The root of our debate lies in the simple story. Yes, it has our favorite arc of “finding love while finding a renewed love of Christmas”…but it could use a dash more dialogue about the holiday. Gwen drives around her Deceased Father’s car, but we don’t learn much about her family’s Christmas traditions. And the Tree Buy & Trim scene had the potential to get into the history of certain ornaments or Charlie’s cabin traditions with his wife. But the Christmas elements were so subtle (the Santa blanket!) that only an eagle-eyed viewer could appreciate them fully.
“A Gift Wrapped Christmas” a hard one to find, but hunt it down if you can. Tell us if we’re being too picky in our ratings. (We’ve already started to question them…)
Rob's Final Take: Merry
Meredith has the makings of a Christmas movie superstar and gets this one dangerously close to being Very Merry. But her brilliance only highlights the dullness of the story and her co-stars.
Jess's Final Take: Merry
If I could give it “Merry Plus,” I would. Our leading lady oozes upbeat holiday joy. But the plot is more about shopping than Christmas, which leaves this one in the middle of the pack.