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About The Story
Anyone who's ever tried to travel across the country during the Christmas holidays can sympathize with the plight of 18-year-old Jake Wilkinson (Jonathan Taylor Thomas)

Anyone who's ever tried to travel across the country during the Christmas holidays can sympathize with the plight of 18-year-old Jake Wilkinson (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Who of us cannot recall our "holiday joy" at the memory of icy highways and snowbound airports? Or of being gathered in some crowded terminal with hundreds of fellow travelers, all weary, anxious and short-tempered, listening to a harried attendant explain for the umpteenth time that our flight's been overbooked, and someone will have to be bumped? And all the while, Christmas Eve is closing fast.

Jake's situation is similar -- but with a few new twists. Mere days before Christmas, he finds himself stranded in the middle of the California desert with no wallet, I.D. or cash.

The first twist is, it's Jake's own fault. How he ended up in the desert is the result of a plan he had for some of a few of his fellow students that went awry. The second twist is, as part of his victims' retribution, he's been dressed in a Santa Claus suit with a white beard glued to his face. The third twist is that the mastermind behind Jake's desperate situation, his arch-rival Eddie, has taken advantage of our hero's "absence" to put the moves on his girlfriend Allie, offering her the ride home for the holidays that Jake failed to provide.

As he hitchhikes, freeloads, cons, flies, crawls, races and bullies his way east, Jake sets in motion a comedy of errors involving a series of eccentric and amusing characters who both help and hinder him on his way. Will he make his deadline to New York City -- and also, at the same time, manage to save Allie from the clutches of the nefarious Eddie?

Does Rudolph have a red nose?

* * *

When it comes to wheeling and dealing, charming Jake Wilkinson is the king, is a con artist extraordinaire. His scams and scheming ways have him running the show.

Unfortunately, he's also run afoul of the former "king," an older student named Eddie, who is displeased, to say the least, about having Jake take over what used to be his turf. It's your basic collision course -- and only a matter of time before the two have it out.

That time is now -- the upcoming Christmas holiday.

It all starts when Jake's father David, a successful New York lawyer, sends Jake a first class plane ticket to ensure the boy's arrival home in time for Christmas Eve. But going home hadn't been the same for Jake these past few years, ever since the death of his mother. Things haven't been helped, either, by his father's remarriage so soon after Jake's mother died.

Looking to avoid the awkwardness and unhappiness he associates with a holiday visit to his father and stepmother, Jake swaps his ticket home for two tickets to Cabo San Lucas, where he plans to spend Christmas with his girlfriend Allie. Unfortunately, he doesn't clear the plan with Allie first, and she rejects his invitation to spend "Christmas in paradise," preferring instead to spend the time with her own family.

David also confronts Jake about the ticket swap, and the boy can only offer lame excuses for his behavior. Desperate to have his family together for Christmas, David bribes his son with the only thing he can think of to bring him home -- the vintage Porsche the two of them had spent so much time rebuilding together, before they'd become estranged. There's one catch, however: Jake must make it home no later than 6:00 p.m. on

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