Movie Review: Catch Me if You Claus (2023)

Synopsis: Broadcast journalist Avery dreams of getting out from under her successful mom's shadow and becoming a news anchor but her bosses don't think she's ready. However, when the weekend anchor comes down sick at Christmas, Avery is given an opportunity. There's just one problem, she needs to be at work before 5 a.m. and isn't able to get to sleep because she catches Chris, a man claiming to be Santa Claus, in her house. Believing he is the infamous Santa Claus robber, who has been burglarizing homes in the area, she attempts to turn Chris into the police, only to learn he's telling the truth and there is more to the burglaries than meets the eye, the latter being a scoop that could make her career.

Who's in it? The movie stars Italia RicciLuke MacfarlaneKaterina MariaMichael Barbuto and Samantha Brown.

Review: I added this Hallmark Christmas movie to my library because it seemed somewhat unique compared to the majority of them and after being disappointed multiple times this year, I decided to finally roll the dice with it. So far, it is one of my favorites this season.

The plot turned out to be slightly more complex than I expected it to be but that proved to be a good thing. The film has a great story about Avery (Ricci) trying to figure out her career at the same time Chris (Macfarlane) is trying to figure out how to be Santa Claus and wind up helping each other. Then, while that is going on, there's a solid second story about a burglary ring and the political motivations behind it. The latter added a few nice twists and turns, a little suspense and some surprisingly funny situations.

I thought Ricci and Macfarlane worked great together. There was good chemistry between them, and it was easy to believe the growing romantic tension between their characters. I can't say the same about a lot of similar movies we've watched this year.

At first, I wasn't a huge fan of the romance between the two, because it felt unnecessary. However, it did add a little something extra because it raised questions about what that would mean for their futures given the distance between Dayton, Ohio (where the movie took place) and the North Pole. Would one of them choose to give up their career or would they decide to somehow make the long-distance relationship work? Unlike so many other films in this genre, the answer to that question wasn't as obvious as you would expect.

Final Opinion: It's a surprisingly good movie with some funny scenes, a lot of action and just enough romance to make it a Hallmark film without bogging down the unique plot. It's one I would recommend.

My Grade: A


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