Santa Bootcamp (2022 Lifetime)

Santa Bootcamp

Santa Bootcamp (2022 Lifetime)

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Cast: Emily Kinney, Rita Moreno, Marissa Jaret Winokur

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When event planner Emily Strauss (Kinney) is hired by mall magnate Ed Mancini (Cassidy) to stage the ultimate Christmas Gala for his most important investors, Emily finds herself being sent to bootcamp – Santa Bootcamp – to find the perfect Santa and the inspiration she will need to make the evening a success. While there, Emily meets Belle (Moreno), the bootcamp’s drill sergeant with a heart of gold, who helps Emily rediscover the magic of Christmas and find romance along the way.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie starts with Rita Moreno in a red sequence tracksuit manifesting Christmas. People dressed up in elf attire run around the mansion, readying the place for a big event. The lead elf is Patty.

Emily Strauss runs an event planning business with her mother, who is hearing impaired. They speak in sign language and excitedly talk about an extravagant event for Ed Mancini. (Who just fired their event planner.) Emily takes the meeting and learns that Ed’s view on Christmas is THE BIGGER, THE BETTER! He also wants the REAL Santa. 

Back at the mansion, Rita Moreno hits on a hot elf named Adien and shows him son flyers for Santa Boot Camp, a four-day training in Pasadena for mall Santas. Christmas Magic sends the flyers blowing everywhere, and one blows directly on Emily’s face.

Emily decides to go to the Bootcamp, and when she arrives, she is mistaken for a student. Emily tries to talk to Rita Moreno, but her requests for a Santa recommendation are pretty much ignored. 

The potential Santas are pushed into a room for the Santa pitch, which feels like a pyramid scheme. Rita Moreno calls some standout possible Santas on stage, including Emily. Rita Moreno wants Emily to participate in the Bootcamp in exchange for recommendations. (Which is insane!) 

Rita Moreno has Emily play Mrs. Clause, but when the chemistry isn’t right, she has Chef Aiden step in, and they have romantic chemistry. He does so well; Rita Moreno wants Aiden to participate in Santa Bootcamp too! 

In between carrying Santa sacks in military fatigues and feeding reindeer Emily takes calls from Mr. Mancini and lets him know she is working on the big event! 

Rita Moreno’s husband, Chris, hosts a Santa masterclass. Patty plays the part of the children, where she manically talks out of the side of her mouth. More role-playing happens when they talk about FAQs that Santa experiences. Emily shares that her one wish was a white Christmas when she was a kid. 

The recruits do aging makeup, and Emily turns Aiden into his grandpa with some age lines and grey spray-on die. (Just like a middle school production of Virginia Wolf!)

Now in costume, the Santas are ready for the children, who run a muck. Aiden connects with a kid named Jack, who doesn’t have a Christmas tree. 

After the successful day of Santa Bootcamp, Aiden and Emily flirt and cook together. Aiden sings Jingle Bells, and the two bop around the kitchen while Rita Moreno watches approvingly around the corner. 

Emily finds time to work on her plans for the Mancini event in between Santa yoga and toy painting. When she shows the plans to Rita Moreno, Emily starts to re-think that the bigger is a better idea. Maybe she should design something that gets to the true meaning of Christmas. 

The Bootcampers are sent on a bus in costumes to try their Santa skills out in the wild. Here we get a montage of the recruits in a toy store with kids. Emily plays Mrs. Clause to Aiden’s Santa. (Yay?) Emily warms everyone’s hearts when she talks with a kid who speaks in sign language. 

Aiden gets an offer from a two-star Michelin restaurant, and he is excited about the opportunity. Emily tells him that he will slay the job interview. 

Next, they go to a Christmas Tree Auction? Emily and Aiden are charming in this scene, even though it is pointless. 

Emily makes a pitch to Mr. Mancini to include more of the community, including his staff’s family and friends. She wants him to give joy at Christmas, even though he runs a business, NOT a charity. 

A Santa Bootcamp meeting happens where we learn about an MVP camper and final projects. Emily talks to Rita Moreno about relationships and shares that she has feelings for Aiden but is scared of messing things up. 

While enjoying a night picnic, the lovebirds wish on a shooting star. 

At the big Mancini event, Emily introduces Aiden to her mother. Seconds later, she learns that Aiden might be moving to New York for the job. She tells him to take the job and then rushes off to event plan. In the next scene, Adien decides to stay, and Emily is delighted. 

Rita Moreno shows up looking fab while she charms Ed Mancini. With Chris as Santa, they tell kids about the THREE LITTLE PIGS?!!? Then they have a Santa Bootcamp graduation at the event. Emily wins the Bootcamp MVP and gives a speech about everything she learned. (Which isn’t much.)

Everyone shares a champagne toast, and then it starts to snow. Rita Moreno and Chris FLY away in a blue Cadillac while Emily and Aiden kiss. Everyone waves, like a flying car, is totally normal! 

Side Note

Melissa Joan Heart serves as the director here, and the movie has her trademark “broad humor.” 

Minority Report:  Rita Moreno, Auctioneer 

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

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

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄 (2 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷 (1 glass of wine.)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked

*Photo Credit: © 2022 Lifetime

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #ItsAWonderfulLifetime #SantaBootcamp

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