The Santa Stakeout (2021 Hallmark)

The Santa Stakeout (2021 Hallmark)

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Cast: Tamera Mowry-Housley & Paul Campbell

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Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Tanya is a police detective who is reluctantly partnered with fellow detective Ryan to solve a recent string of heists taking place during high-profile holiday parties around town. They go undercover as newlyweds Tasha and Rupert, moving into the vacant house next to Mr. Miller, the jovial chair of the community’s Christmas committee…and the prime suspect in the case. As Tanya and Ryan partake in the neighborhood’s holiday happenings to keep up appearances and crack the case, they get swept up in Christmas. Before they know it, their cover story as a couple in love starts to become reality. Starring Tamera Mowry-HousleyPaul Campbell, and Joe Pantoliano.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie begins with shots of Santa and someone stealing things from a museum. This isn’t your traditional Hallmark Christmas Movie.

Tamera Mowry-Housley plays Tanya, a detective who is busily pushing papers with her partner Ryan. Ryan is annoyed that Tanya decorates her desk, and they don’t seem to get along because Tanya is a rookie who loves the holidays. (Ryan even eats the chocolate out of her Advent Calendar.) The two are put on the case of a museum art caper. They even have a suspect, a mall Santa named Francis Miller. (It’s like the Muppets, with no muppets.) 

Tanya and Ryan don’t have enough for a Christmas search warrant, so they are assigned to keep tabs on Mr. Miller with 24hr surveillance or… a SANTA STAKEOUT!!!

They move into a house across the street from the Santa and lay down some ground rules. Then they spend a lot of the movie looking out the window with cameras. It’s like Rear Window without the suspense. Tanya and Ryan are caught by a neighbor Stanley who invites them to join the Christmas committee. 

With their low-profile blow, Tanya and Ryan are forced to come up with a cover as a newlywed couple.

While looking at Christmas trees for their fake house, Ryan opens up about his divorce. Tanya shares their backstory with him. Ryan barely reads it and ignores the details. Then they decorate their house while spying on Mr. Miller. He catches when he brings over fruitcakes and invites them to be Elves at a Christmas event with him. 

Tanya visits Mr. Miller’s Santa booking office and talks with his boss. The boss can’t understand how Mr. Miller is a person of interest in the case. 

At Mr. Miller’s house party, Tanya and Ryan show up in matching Christmas sweaters. They meet all the neighborhood residents who are on the Christmas committee. Everyone takes an interest in the new couple, and they struggle to keep their story straight. Tanya manages to get some snooping in, though! Before they leave, they are forced to kiss under the mistletoe. More decorating happens, including a tinsel fight. (So that is fun!)

Caroling (Tanya shows off her incredible voice) and hot chocolate making with the Christmas committee happen. Ryan drops a police badge, and they play it off like it is from a Halloween costume. 

Tanya and Ryan really start bonding with the Christmas Committee. Mr. Miller gives Ryan some marriage advice and tells him that relationships are like snowflakes; everyone is unique and special. Ryan begins to think he isn’t the mastermind behind that thievery. 

That is until paintings are found in Mr. Miller’s possession. Tanya and Ryan question him but he promises that he has left his criminal past in the past.

They learn that Mr. Miller’s boss used to be an actress and she is guilty of the crimes or whatever. The whole Christmas Mystery Caper thing is lost on me. Tanya and Ryan get together in the end, so that is good!

I will say the actors had great chemistry even though I have no clue what was going on. 

Side Note

Minority Report: Tanya, Amy, Talbot, The Capitan, Stanley, Christopher, Eric, 

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*** I’ve updated the rating system. Christmas Trees represent the Christmas vibes. Wine is over enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend). 

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄 (1 Christmas Tree)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine.)

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*Photo Credit: © 2021 Hallmark Crown Media

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