Imagine a world where everybody treasures working in a glorified mailroom and you’ve got a good grasp of Lost Letter Mysteries/Signed Sealed Delivered, a mystery series about delivering super old letters. A bunch of cheery (read: lame) post office workers specialise in reuniting lost letters with their recipients, and at Christmas it’s all about answering letters addressed to Santa.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would be super bummed lying to so many kids, but apparently these guys must love being big liars. Daniel from Ugly Betty (Eric Mabius) puts in a particularly serious performance- like he’s really not phoning it in here. A lot of his scenes involving him examining envelope glue and stamps, Sherlock-style. His mind palace is just a big letterbox. He also enjoys telling people the origins of words without anyone asking for this information- which makes it all the weirder when he meets another man who does the same and also has a big crush on co-worker Shane. I mean, they’re talking about her as “turf”, ie property, but they talk so quickly she doesn’t really register that it’s worth listening to.

The Signed, Sealed, Delivered Christmas
Here’s when he read that particular scene in the script and he’s all “urgh”

The weird new guy brings a letter addressed to God so off the gang go to a hospital to comfort a little girl whose mother is in hospital. Her pregnant mother, by the way. And the little girl is missing her school pageant. It’s like everything that could happen to her has happened: the curse of being a cute child in an emotional seasonal movie.

The plot is generally the team making a last minute pageant for the little girl, whilst Daniel from Ugly Betty gets interrupted by a countless number of people who vaguely know him and need his help. I’d be exasperated at how many people demand favours from him, if I weren’t so freaking annoyed about the “romance” subplot in this movie. No wonder Shane keeps looking annoyed at things and sighing every five minutes: her co-workers, Side Characters 1 and 2, are clearly going to get together but they’re aggressively shy. At first it’s cute but after 90 minutes I found myself saying aloud “for f*ck’s sake, just kiss!” AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN KISS. WHAT IS THE POINT.

There are a few plot twists but they’re fairly easy to spot, and generally I’d say to give this one a miss if it weren’t for Mabius’ damn serious acting. It’s like he’s gone to another extreme in trying not to seem uninterested: he’s way intense in so many scenes. My particular favourite exchange is this one between him and the new guy (who’s an angel but you can see that coming a mile off):

ANGEL: Wake up and smell the poinsettias.

DANIEL FROM UGLY BETTY (emotionally wrought): Poinsettias have no smell.

I mean, at least now I’ll never forget what I learned about poinsettias, but no following scenes compare to this piece of dialogue.

Rating: Ho Ho/Ho Ho Ho.