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Picks and Pans Review: Secret Santa

updated 12/22/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/2003 01:00AM

NBC (Sun., Dec. 14, 9 p.m. ET)
COMEDY-DRAMA

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The most important gifts are from the heart.... Giving is its own reward." Any TV movie that contains these thoughts is not without worth, but Secret Santa certainly takes its sweet time sending the holiday messages.

A cynical Indianapolis reporter (Jennie Garth, from What I Like About You) goes to humble Hamden, Ind., to uncover the identity of an anonymous benefactor who makes Christmases bright for locals in need. Garth's prime suspect is the richest man in town (Steven Eckholdt), but you swear it'll be spring before she meets the guy. Partially compensating for the poky pace is the presence of Leave It to Beaver's Barbara Billingsley as a nice old lady who befriends Garth.

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