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|Index||12 reviews in total|
Undercover Christmas was a fun,entertaining movie.Although the plot was not original,it did not lessen it's quality. The humor was clever,and the dramatic parts were touching. Jami Gertz and Tyne Daly were standouts,and although Shawn Christian did not get glowing reviews by at least one critic,I liked him in the role,and enjoyed several scenes in particular between he and Jami Gertz.
Although this movie strives very hard to promote peace and good will, it is
spoilt by the unbelievable storyline. The cast does its best against the
odds, but even the greatest optimist in the world knows that life is not
really like this.
Still, it is an entertaining concept - and if you can accept first the unlikely premise and second the fact that the "happy ending" is achieved by making almost all of the characters go against type - then I recommend it just for the feelgood ending. I must admit that I only watched it because of Tyne Daly (who still has the ability to command the screen) - and have to also admit that it hooked me to the degree that I only started to question it all after it was over.
A good way to muster up the spirit of Christmas - what more can we ask?
Brandi is a cocktail waitress whose boyfriend Scott is being investigated
the FBI for misusing money he and his family were supposed to invest for
other people. Jake is one of the FBI agents. After Scott is arrested,
FBI persuades Brandi to testify, but Jake believes Brandi needs to be kept
away from Scott. A family emergency leads to Scott bringing Brandi home
meet his parents at Christmas. He tells them Brandi is his girlfriend,
she is all too willing to play the role. Jake's parents wonder how these
two could possibly be together. His mother does a good job of hiding her
frustration. But his father, a judge, reminds his son once again what a
disappointment he is. His sister Stefanie became a lawyer and continued
working rather than staying home with her daughter. Jake was supposed to
a lawyer like his father. Jake's family has money, but they seem more
interested in impressing people than getting along with each other. Brandi
grew up with a mother who kept getting remarried, and she wasn't used to
'the good life'.
The movie started out as a comedy, but about halfway through the laughs stopped abruptly. The rest of the movie was unpleasant too much of the time, though some parts were nice. The ending was satisfying but, given all the various twists, it was hard to imagine this happening. Many different directions would have been possible. Both Brandi and Jake's family ended up learning important lessons.
I thought Tyne Daly would be the reason to watch. She was good, but Jami Gertz was the standout performer. Brandi was sarcastic most of the time and very funny when she was. She could also be sweet as she saw what life could have been like for her, even though these people didn't get along perfectly. She was great with Stefanie's daughter Ashley (Alexandra Harvey, who was pretty good as a slightly rebellious preteen).
I could have been happier, but the movie was good for a while, and the second half was not exactly a disaster.
A charming and surprisingly amusing bit of Christmas fluff; predictable but redeemed by good writing and superb performances by every cast member. While nothing wildly original it is a creditable effort. Tyne Daly is a standout as the majestic matriarch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Is this film "Gone With The Wind" or "Its A Wonderful Life"? No it is not. Spoilers ahead: But "Undercover Christmas" a film with heart, where gangster moll Brandi O'Neill (Jami Gertz), is deciding if she should testify against her b/f investment fraudster Scott Shift (His name about says it all), and ends up spending Christmas with FBI Agent Jake Cunningfam (Shawn Christian), who pretends she is his g/f to his wealthy but very dysfunctional family (He had not spent Christmas with the family because of a disagreement with his dad). Perhaps my favorite scene is where she learns to bake from her Jake's mom Anne (Dyne Daly, and she starts to settle in and become accepted by the Cunninghams and in particular Jake. The ending of the film (After they find out the truth about Brandi) is when Anne, and her husband go to the court, and their encouragement was the final bush that Brandi needed to testify. The film ends with Jake getting to meet Brandi's mom, and she is happy to meet him. The underlining message is when he works(He works in Chicago) is her mom's home will be their home, and when he is free, they will go to his parents house. The highlight of the film is the relationship between Brandi and Anne (She is the most stable one in the film), and how Anne helps Brandi grow, and Brandi fulfills Anne's wish to bring Jake back into the family. I give it 8/10 stars. Mostly for Jami & Tyne.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hunky FBI agent Jake Cunningham(Shawn Christian) must protect witness
Brandi(Jamie Gertz)until her indicted boyfriend,shifty Scott
Shift(ha,ha) goes to trial on a investments scam. When his mother(Tyne
Daly)tries to bring Jake back home for Christmas, telling him his
wealthy estranged father has had a heart attack,Jake has this bright
idea to hide Brandi in his parent's house,trying to pass her as his
girlfriend, until the trial after Christmas.
Viewers already suspect what's gonna happen between Brandi and Jake eventually. Still, dramatic tension is created by differences between fake Jake fiancée Brandi and the upper class Cunninghams, including Jake's sister, husband and cute preteen niece.Jamie Gertz as Brandi sparkles in a kind of cleaned-up, gangster's moll role which Barbara Stanwick made perfect.She delightfully offends socially, then makes amends, eventually winning over the family(Jake too), and especially the niece, who finds Brandi especially cool and authentic. For the occasion of the grand Cunningham Christmas party,the girls gang up to give Brandi a My Fair Lady makeover. And Miss Gertz is appropriately stunning in her party appearance, Cinderella and Pretty Woman all rolled into one.
Then the battle of the hunks develop, when shifty boyfriend Scott(Cameron Bancroft)secretly appears trying to enamor Brandi and get her not to testify against him.Will she be loyal to her old flame or will she heed Jake's advice to be true to her conscience, and to him?Stay tuned.
Tyne Daly, who is too fine an actress for this vehicle, is cast against type as the suffering noble matriarch, trying to bring the family together in spite of her judge husband's(Winston Reckert) tyrannical ways.As usual,feisty Ms.Daly delivers a high quality performance in the unlikely role of gracious Mrs. Cunningham. One wishes she would be cast in meatier roles,like the type Kathy Bates is getting plenty of.
The plot is logical, but credibility is stretched to the limit.Some white washing of typical plot lines has been done, like the gangster has been promoted to a white collar criminal, and the moll is now a lower middle class girlfriend from a broken home. No matter how much we want to believe,in the end we feel like we've been taken for a ride. However the ride is very pleasant and entertaining,all the performers are interesting and very attractive, and at least two performances are outstanding.Miss Gertz shines, Miss Daly is compelling as always, and the viewer is left asking for more of this heady Christmas punch.
An overworked FBI agent(Shawn Christian)needs to "hide" a key witness(Jami Gertz)in an ongoing swindle investigation. Christian ends up taking Gertz to his wealthy parents home after being told his father has suffered a heart attack. This is a ploy of his mother(Tyne Daly)in hopes of seeing her son for the holiday. Predictably the agent and the witness pretending to be an "item" do fall in love. Also in the cast are: Diana Chaplin, Winston Rekert and Cameron Bancroft. Light hearted comedy worth watching. The main reason I watched is Gertz...man, that girl is HOT!
Undercover Christmas is an easy going and unoffensive film with a
romantic festive theme. Jamie Gertz plays Brandi a cocktail waitress
whose wealthy boyfriend Scott is being investigated by the FBI for
major tax fraud.
When Scott is arrested the FBI try to get Brandi to testify and to prevent her from being influenced by Scott they put her in protective custody and assign a FBI agent to her, Jake played by Shawn Christian.
When Jake hears that his dad had been taken ill, Jake takes Brandi home to meet her parents at Christmas and makes out that they are engaged.
It becomes clear that Jake and his father, a prominent judge do not get on. His mother (Tyne Daly) tries to keep the peace but it seems clear that his father is more interested in impressing people than actually getting on with his family. He is far from impressed once it transpires who Brandi really is but by this time both Brandi and Jake develop feelings for each other.
There is little to surprise you here in this made for television film. Tyne Daly gives the stand-out performance as the mother who wants to keep her family together, the dad is certainly obnoxious and puts the film out of kilter. He really is badly written, in real life every member of his family would had walked out on him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't plan on giving any spoilers, but I always mark it just in case.
Besides, it's pretty rare that Christmas/holiday-themed movies are
unpredictable. Anyway, this movie is like the TV version of Pretty
Woman/The Bodyguard. Woman is dating a crook, she's scheduled to
testify, and an FBI agent is assigned to protect her. His mom lies to
get him home for Christmas, so he's got to take her w/him and they put
up the charade that they are together (because he can't reveal details
of the case). Brandi (Jami G) is a fish far out of water, and starts
off offending Jake's upper crust dysfunctional family. You can imagine
the story from here.
The movie was an OK passing of the time. I like Jami Gertz as an actress, but and this is meant as a compliment, she can't pull off "trashy" or "uncouth" very well. I feel like they edited some scenes out that would have helped certain parts make sense. I thought it was funny that Brandi's crook boyfriend was in trouble for taxes yet she needed to be protected. I guess the FBI angle was thrown in to make it interesting, but the movie never showed her life threatened or anything.
Shawn Christian plays a cop that has to protect Jami Gertz at the same time falling for her during the Winter holidays. Do I care that this TV movie isn't the greatest? It's watchable, but nothing to get attached to. No offense to Jami Gertz or her fans, but she always has a "witchy" sort of look on her face. Maybe it's because it's a drama, because I like her on `Still Standing.' I think Shawn Christian is an attractive guy, probably the next best thing about this movie. Next to Tyne Daly that is. Anyone who watches this, probably will only be entertain my her. I know I did. Their some other storyline in this TV/Movie like with the boyfriend and father...but who cars. Tyne Daly get's an A+.
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