The Santa Summit: Hunter King's Jordin Could Teach Y&R's Summer A Lot About Love

While Summer Newman (Allison Lanier) currently grapples with grown-up romantic issues on "The Young and the Restless," she caused quite a stir in her younger years when Hunter King played the role from 2012 to 2021. She often got into trouble in Genoa City, including spiking people's drinks, stealing cars, and reckless driving, which caused Chelsea Lawson (Melissa Claire Egan) to have a miscarriage, among several other misdeeds. King is now starring in Hallmark's "The Santa Summit" as part of its 2023 Countdown to Christmas event, premiering on November 4 at 8pm EST, and is no stranger to holiday films.

She plays Jordin — the complete opposite of Summer — a teacher coming off of a sad breakup. In an attempt to cheer herself up, she convinces co-workers Ava (Amy Groening) and Stella (Stephanie Sy) to go with her to their city's annual Santa Summit, in which all residents dress up as Kris Kringle for various fun events and activities. Ava, who is generally shy and reserved, is in love with fellow teacher Ben, and upon learning he's going to the Summit, is eager to attend to hopefully tell him her feelings. Stella's soured on the holiday season because, due to budget cuts, she's been shuffled from her job as an art teacher to teaching English. The friends haven't hung out together in a while, each fumbling their way through life, and are hoping a reconnection between them will be just what they all need.

Summer and Jordin share a tenacious spirit

Throughout "Santa Summit," Hunter King's Jordin invariably loses her wallet and retraces her steps, where she bumps into Liam (Benjamin Hollingsworth). The two get talking, and he surprises her by opening up about his life, explaining, "Vulnerability doesn't mean sacrificing durability." The two find they have a lot in common and decide to check out the bar where her friends are headed. Unfortunately, in the chaos of everyone dressed up as Santa, the two get separated and don't know each other's names or faces because of their costume beards. From there, it becomes a comedy of errors as not only do the two try to track each other down in a sea of St. Nicks, but Ava's trying to locate Ben and a nice, albeit mysterious, man named Freddie (Rodrigo Beilfuss) has taken a liking to Stella, seemingly showing up wherever she is.

On "The Young and the Restless," King's Summer Newman tenaciously sought emancipation from her parents so she could continue acting up. That tenacity is probably the only thing these two characters have in common. Here, Jordin is persistent in her pursuit of this mystery man who charmed her socks off. However, she does get to a point where she's ready to give up, feeling that life is dreadful until a recurring character who drives a bicycle taxi gives her sound advice: "You don't become happy because you find love. You find love because you're already happy."

The characters put in the work to find their love

The film is charming, full of recurring jokes and blink-and-you'll-miss-them pop culture references. The bike cab driver is flustered whenever he transports the women because they refuse to pedal, causing him to constantly struggle. Jordin's wallet has a needlepoint house embroidered on it, and that's the only defining thing about her that Liam has in his attempt to track her down. He tries hard to enjoy himself and shed his workaholic ways, but his brother Mac insists on asking every bar owner they meet if they need any construction done on their building. Stella stuns everyone by knocking down the Grinch-like walls she's built up around her and displaying talents that no one knew she had. Tenacity works for all the characters as they try to find their prospective partners, while Freddie tries unsuccessfully wooing Stella several times.

The film keeps a brisk pace throughout, engaging viewers with likable and relatable characters. It's obvious from the beginning that Ava and Ben were made for each other, but the two are too shy and dense to realize it at first. Liam has many pearls of wisdom, including, "Effort is more important than the end result," which is advice that Jordin needs badly. If only Summer Newman had applied her tenacity for her misdeeds to becoming a better person, she wouldn't have created such negative chaos in Genoa City on "The Young and the Restless."

The Santa Summit is fast-paced and enjoyable

Written by Russell Hainline, who also wrote 2018's "Web of Lies," and the holiday film, "In Merry Measure" (2022), "The Santa Summit" doesn't waste time on needless exposition to get us engaged with the characters. It's also deftly directed by Jeff Beeley, who brought us "A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe" (2022) and directed several episodes of the hilarious send-up TV series "Little Mosque on the Prairie" in 2007. There's one sequence that takes place in a "silent disco" — a dance club that doesn't blast music through speakers but rather into the headphones of participants — that's extremely well done. One of the characters turns in slow motion to find themselves face to face with the person they've been seeking, and the dazzling lights and music make it the most powerful scene in the film.

The whimsical and fun score was created by Christopher Guglick, who's composed music for several films, including the thrillers "Charlotte: The Return" in 2019 and 2021's "The Evil Twin," as well as many Christmas films. The movie also includes the song "Boots on My Roof," written and performed by Trent Dabbs, and Freddie sings a cover of "Must Be Santa," written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredricks. Overall, "The Santa Summit" is a hilarious, fun, and fast-paced film and is just the right fit to get you into the holiday spirit, and fans of Hunter King will enjoy her refreshing break from soaps!