Wherein I continue the “Christmas in July” series… I mainly chose the films for their silly (read: stupid) titles, but Switched For Christmas, you might say, isn’t as stupid sounding as say Hats off to Christmas! I chose this one specifically because Candace Cameron Bure plays twins. Yes, you read that right: twins. She’s living her Michelle Tanner dreams.
When identical twin sisters decide to swap lives for the holiday, the lessons they learn along the way may turn out to make this the best Christmas ever.
The film begins with the now-questionable “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playing as our two heroines awake from their slumber.
We watch as they make their respective breakfasts. One makes a traditional fry up for her kids while the other drinks some green stuff straight from a NutriBullet by herself. This lets us know about their personalities and priorities.
Workaholic Kate heads into the real estate office. Kate works with her coworker from Evergreen (fun fact: Evergreen is the setting for two Hallmark Christmas films, which adds to my ever-growing Hallmark Cinematic Universe theory. The coworker, Greg, is NOT the serial killer in Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa). Kate gets some bad news that she has to organize the company Christmas party even though she’s the Senior VP of Project Development. Again, pointless BS job goes to the woman? Sounds about right.
At school, Mommy/teacher Chris meets with the principal to talk about a donation from a new student’s dad. Apparently, he’s Mr. Moneybags which makes the principal wet himself with Christmas joy. This dad wants to be involved in planning the annual Winter Wonderland event, something Chris usually does.
The next day, Chris and Kate meet their dad for brunch. Kate is taken aback at the presence of her sister.
Dad forces them to have brunch together because that’s what they promised their dead mom they’d do (oh yeah, Mom’s dead, put that on your Hallmark bingo card). He senses the awkwardness between the sisters and makes a hasty exit. Kate insults Chris by saying planning Winter Wonderland is easy. They shoot barbs at each other until they agree to switch places and probably commit some light fraud.
Now in twin swap mode, Chris arrives at the real estate office and immediately drops her folder on the floor. As a teacher, she never has to carry folders or papers so this is a new experience for her. Coworker Greg offers to lend a hand. Chris is floored by the guy.
At school, Kate meets the generous donor, Tom. He appears to have known Kate at some stage. Thankfully, Kate is posing as Chris, so she is spared awkwardly reintroducing herself. This guy insults Winter Wonderland, calling it “stale” which rubs Kate the wrong way. The men bully Kate into having a meeting at her house even though she doesn’t verbally agree.
Chris is at her new uber-cool office, trying to make sense of the Christmas party. Greg walks in, causing Chris to slam her knee into her desk. We, the audience, sensibly chuckle at this.
Their sexy meeting is interrupted by an “emergency” call from Kate. Kate was not expecting to do anything for Winter Wonderland, so she’s pretty pissed that she has to actually do work. Also, we discover that Kate had a massive “crush” on Tom at one stage which adds a layer of personal difficulty. Despite this, Kate is interested in keeping this whole switcharoo going. Chris is less into it, but once she sees Greg sexily pass by her, she agrees.
The sisters begin the next day in their new homes and judge each other’s lifestyles. Kate learns that making breakfast for children is difficult, especially if they’re brats. Chris learns that eating a healthy balanced meal is something people do.
Unfortunately for Kate, the kids’ dad is not able to take them this week, so she’s stuck with her niece and nephew / daughter and son. Somewhat fortunately, Chris told the kids that Kate would be playing mom for a week, so that’s a bit of a load off. She tries to change things up and make the kids do more chores.
At the office, Chris is invited to go Christmas shopping with Greg. She piques his interest by giving him advice on a gift for his niece. He even offers to help with planning the Christmas party!
Kate has the interloping principal and her donor crush over for pre-baked cookies and milk to talk about the Winter Wonderland arrangements. Her father walks in unannounced and almost blows Kate’s cover. She takes him aside to tell him about the “twin sister swap” and to butt out. The meeting ends because Tom leaves. He sexily says “I’ll make it up to you” when she tells him that he’s making Winter Wonderland more work.
Both women are courted by their respective men, Tom hangs up Chris’s lights and Greg puts up Kate’s tree. They both have similar ideas for the Winter Wonderland which means that they should totally bang.
We get a Christmas tree decorating montage with Kate and the kids while Michael Buble sings “O Christmas Tree.”
During one of the copious phone calls that this film sets up, Kate discovers that Chris is hanging out with Greg. They agree to ensure that there is “no romance” with their suitors. Surely these two lonely women will not break this sacred pact!
Kate goes for a walk and Tom runs into her (somewhat literally). He stops his jog to talk to her. Tom shares that he’s going to quit his lawyer job to become a work-from-home angel investor and live in paradise (read: small-town America).
Things are going well for the ladies until disaster strikes. A big business guy named Jasper arrives at the real estate firm and Chris can’t handle it! Kate offers to Cyrano de Bergerac Chris with the help of Bluetooth technology.
Chris goes off-script (which amuses Greg). She tells Jasper that the condos aren’t selling because they’re not family friendly. Jasper is like “totally sweet!” and is happy with the terrible presentation-meeting thing. I wish I could fail upwards like most of these Hallmark heroines. I’d be a millionaire.
Chris breaks the pact and engages in a baking-cookie-fight with Greg. It’s meant to be really cute, but this kind of horseplay leads to roaches. There is sugar and flour everywhere. They sexily make gingerbread together for the Christmas party.
Both Kate and Chris are struggling to gain acceptance for their Christmas plans. According to her dad, Kate’s ideas for Winter Wonderland aren’t all that suitable for a small town. Meanwhile, Chris’s ideas might be too homey for the big real estate agency.
It’s been some time since a cutesy montage, so Hallmark chucks a short one at us to remind us that Chris and Greg are into each other. Greg explains why he’s single: he wants to “get it right the first time.” This could read that he hasn’t been in a relationship his whole life. He might as well be waving a GIANT RED FLAG.
It’s the night of the big Christmas party. Everyone is totes enjoying it. Maybe small towns have something to contribute to big city parties! They even win over the icy boss woman. Greg puts a Christmas wish on the tree and sexily doesn’t tell Chris what it is.
He also happens to be Chris’s Secret Santa because that’s a twist in Hallmark’s world. He gives her paintbrushes because he saw her doodle something one time. Greg then pathetically asks her if they can still be chums after the party because he doesn’t want it to go back to the way it was. This confirms that he definitely had something for Kate.
Chris spills the twin swap beans and runs off to Winter Wonderland. Greg is left blue balled in an ugly Christmas sweater.
At Winter Wonderland, Tom asks Kate to a non-PTA related dinner. Instead of answering, she uses this opportunity to ask why he stood her (Kate) up when they were meant to go on an ice-skating date (you know, back when they were teenagers). Apparently, he arrived and saw her kiss another guy, so he bailed. Kate recalls that she and Chris were pulling a twin swap around that time which led to the confusion.
Just as Kate is about to explain the past incident and that she is currently engaging in a twin swap, Chris unexpectedly arrives and waves her sister over. The camera acrobatics begin. Kate awkwardly excuses herself. Chris tells her sister that she confessed everything to Greg. She expects Kate to be mad, but they just get some cocoa and become best-sister-friends again.
The twins return to the festival activities. As Kate is about to decline Tom’s dinner invite, Greg LUNGES.
Kate pushes Greg off her face and Tom is suitably perplexed. She reveals to the poor man that she is actually Kate, not Chris. Tom, dejected and confused, exits the conversation. Greg, not able to read the room, has the gall to ask his co-worker who he just sexually assaulted to help him hook up with Chris.
The girls and family meet back to get some R&R from the lies and scandal. Dad surprises them with an early Christmas present from their dead mom: two pairs of ice skates. The sweet moment is interrupted by the doorbell.
Unexpected visitor Greg explains how he tracked her down. Rather than run inside and lock the door, Chris is flattered and impressed. He tells her he likes her and kisses her again. She invites him in, and he murders the whole family.
That doesn’t happen. Instead Kate goes back to Winter Wonderland to make things right with Tom. He apologizes for walking away. Frankly, he’s a good guy that shouldn’t need to apologize, but whatever. Kate explains everything to him. His response: he pulls out a mistletoe and they kiss in front of skating children.
The couples and their families (except Greg’s because he probably axe murdered them) spend Christmas together. FIN.
There was chemistry with Greg, but none with Tom. He just kind of liked Kate because the story called for it. The script said, “Tom likes Kate” and that is what happened. There was no fluid development. He seemed like a nice guy, but that’s based on the few scenes he had. He might have been as ridiculous as the rest of the cast.
The more I think about it, the more I’m in love with Greg. The man was completely insane and did not understand social cues. He sort of seemed ok at first, but as the story went on, he grew more unhinged and desperate. It was wild and we need more characters like that in Hallmark movies. No more of these normal guys that could be replaced with a 2×4 with a smiley face on it.
Candace Cameron Bure did her thing and that was alright. Even though one character was a business lady and the other a mom, they ultimately ended up being the same person. Twins with the same personality makes acting easier.
The moral of the story? The foundation of love is based on lies and twin swaps.
- Baby is Cold Outside is sung by Avril Lavigne which is something.
- I thought Greg was the same character as the one in Letters to Santa which made his love story in this film very confusing. Turns out he has a twin in Evergreen that he has never met.
- Greg is an architect making him the perfect man.
- There are so many phone calls.
- Greg says Chris has “a real talent for Christmas” which is a very niche talent.
- I love Chris’s dog.
- Who uses the word “crush” past 25??