Dating Santa (2023) 2023 / A solidly acted romance that's both helped and hindered by its holiday setting


As far as romance movies go, Dating Santa is surprisingly free of the usual artificial conflicts that plague the genre. The central couple meet early on and stay in close proximity to each other throughout—meaning they get to skip past the cliche of the courtship phase and converse maturely as adults about turning a new leaf relatively later in life. What ends up straining the film’s story, unfortunately, is the much more lighthearted storyline about trying to convince a little girl that this new man in her mother’s life is Santa. It’s a cute idea that just gets too hard to sustain over time, especially since the daughter proves herself intelligent and perceptive, but still somehow willing to believe so many obvious deceptions.

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