A review by Lynne Larby
Freshman Maggie (Brooke Nevin from Breakout Kings and Scorpion) is working at the campus radio station on the twelfth day of Christmas when her ride home for Christmas leaves early. Mitch (Robin Dunne from Sanctuary), the DJ, is going the same way so offers her a lift. On the highway traffic isn’t going anywhere — not moving at all because of a blizzard — so they ditch the parking lot and have a fun Christmas celebration of their own. Then, in spite of the traffic delays, the blizzard closing the road and the four-hour trip home, they make it to their respective homes for Christmas. (Who said Christmas movies had to make sense?)
Ten years later, Maggie is working at the Hamilton Gazette, a small city newspaper, when Mitch returns to DJ the morning radio program. They meet. Maggie has been carrying a torch for Mitch all these years so, when she realises the Grinch stole Mitch’s Christmas spirit, she decides to be a Secret Santa to re-ignite his love of the season.
Mitch’s hatred of Christmas runs so deep he throws the first two Secret Santa gifts in the bin but they’re such beautiful handmade gifts that Mitch’s producer, Rita (Geri Hall), rescues them from the rubbish and puts photos online. Mitch’s Secret Santa causes a local sensation so Maggie’s boss and the new owners of the gazette bully her into writing a human interest piece on the Secret Santa. The upside: Maggie spends lots of time with Mitch. The downside: other women pose as the Secret Santa and she’s worried about losing her job for breaking journalistic rules and codes. (WTF?! Which rules? Like anyone would even care these days but it adds conflict and raises the stakes.)
The most surprising thing about this Christmas movie is that it’s PG with no sex. In any other genre Mitch would have been bumping uglies with at least two women during this story. This omission isn’t a bad thing: in my opinion, the least appealing part of You’ve Got Mail is the ‘changing partners’ as if it’s a Regency dance manoeuvre.
In the vein of How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days and Never Been Kissed, On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas has the journalist risking love and career as only a woman can. Seriously, these movies are never about men risking both. How many movies are there about men being relegated to Human Interest Stories instead of to hard-hitting journalism? So, from a feminist perspective this movie bites. I’m not even sure if it passes the Bechdel Test because Maggie’s conversations with her sister seem to be about potential (male) partners. I’d have to re-watch to be sure, though. Perhaps next year. [shifty eyes]
I’m a sucker for mushy Christmas movies with lashings of corn and cheese. On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas provides all this and more: romance, a vaguely Dickensian wish to instil Christmas spirit and creative crafts complete with a last-minute dash to a (closed) craft store. Maggie and Mitch go through the motions trying to take their lines seriously while making a reasonable effort to build sexual tension. I enjoyed On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas: it’s the romantic Christmas version of Sharknado. You have been warned. 😀
PS Their snowman didn’t look like the one in the picture.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars but oh so glorious with the mushy Christmas spirit and loads of cheese
Director: Harvey Crossland
Writers: Robin Dunne, Carley Smale, Robert Vaughn
Stars: Brooke Nevin, Robin Dunne, Dani Kind