Holiday Switch.

It’s Christmas time!  Which means that there are Christmas movies on Lifetime (and Hallmark and Up and everything else) like 10 times a day.  So many Christmas stories about love and loss left to be told.  SO MANY.  So much Christmas magic ready to be made.

This movie is from 2007 and features Nicole Eggert (from Baywatch!) wondering if she should have married her husband or some other dude she dated in the past.  I’m guessing with the help of a little Christmas Magic (TM) she’ll be able to answer that question.  This movie is totally different than that Family Man movie starring Nicolas Cage with essentially the same plot, I’m sure.

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You know it’s good if Lifetime took the time to put it out on dvd!  

Chris is up late but tomorrow is his last day of work before two weeks off for the holidays so go nuts.  This is also our first Christmas Lifetime movie with our dog so it’s special.  Something to be commemorated.  The movie opens with a version of Jingle Bells playing that is so terrible and includes a weird husky voiced man going “JINGLE BELLS” in a very high falsetto that sounds off key or pitchy or whatever you want to call it over the other guy singing the song.

A little blonde girl who looks like a 40 year old woman is eating Crispy Ziff cereal, which has a hilariously photoshopped baseball player on the box.

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The old baby says “aren’t you excited for the Christmas party??” but her sad sack middle school sister is all “we don’t do Christmas parties in middle school because we don’t believe in santa and all that anymore.”  The old baby* is all “time for me to airbrush on some more makeup on the way to the kay jewelers to get some new granny earrings” and no one bats an eye.  

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The dad is a mush faced dude who is boring and says something about their stupid family traditions while the mom yells about how much laundry there is.

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She is literally in the basement surrounded by piles of laundry looking for Christmas lights.  How do these people still have clothes to wear if there is this much laundry they somehow didn’t know existed?  The middle school kid says she believes in presents still so the Christmas spirit is still alive and well inside her.

Chris took like 100 photos of her bugging widening her eyes but I’m only posting one. This is what the grumpy middle schooler looks like:

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In the basement mom and dad talk about how they have maxed out 4 credit cards and can’t afford new Christmas lights (theirs are all tangled up and stupid, you can’t untangle lights, that’s just a fact) and they don’t have a tree and they aren’t getting gifts for their kids.  She is all “do you have any work lined up, Gary?”  These two people haven’t discussed that before four days before Christmas?  Like, he hasn’t worked in months and you haven’t talked about what he’s doing to line up work?

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Gary says he’ll get them a tree but he might just be going to a park and cutting one down because poor.  Mom finds a beautiful ornament and then drops it on the ground and it shatters which is probably not a good sign.

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Gary’s truck says FERGUSON CONSTRUCTION on the side but she implied that he needs to get paid for more of the work he does so is he one of those construction guys who just goes around doing free construction for people because he’s too nice?  Is that a thing?

The kids go to school and mom sits at home talking to creditors saying that they’re missing all their payments while she finds another credit card to max out.  She keeps saying “this never happens” but I can’t tell if that’s true or if she lies like this every month.  Just watching this scene nearly gave me a panic attack.  I’ve never maxed out a credit card in my life.  I’d rather live out of my car.

Mom starts going through some terrible paintings she has in some drawer while sitting on a floral couch in front of a different floral wallpaper.  

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She looks at some magazine where a couple named Nick and Sheila invite you for a tour of their “sumptuous” home.  What?  So their house looks expensive?  That is such a weird way to brag about your house. She also has tons of newspaper clippings about this guy.

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Then she drives by that sumptuous house the next day, probably dreaming of being able to pay her bills in true sumptuous style.  She also sees a fancy dress in a store window and thinks about how she could maybe one day own a dress if she wasn’t so poor.

She sees some guy walks across the street and she runs and hides from him…. runs right into the red dress.  THE RED DRESS COSTS $1200 but she tries it on anyway because she’s really trying to avoid this guy.  She just hides in the dressing room holding the dress and waiting for him to leave but of course she comes out and he’s all “PAULA!” and she gasps.

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She has a 13 year old child so how recently could she have dated this guy?  Is it really worth gasping and hiding from him still?  She’s all “you’re back” and he literally says “I couldn’t stay in Nice forever” with a smug nod.  Yeah, you can’t stay in Nice forever.  EYE ROLL

If you’re wondering what kind of subtlety Nicole Eggert is playing this scene just imagine this for 2 minutes:
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Anyway, we learn that his dad was a gallery bigwig and died and now this dude runs all the galleries.  He asks if she still paints and asks her to come to some big gallery show tonight like it’s fancy af but then hands her a terrible postcard made by an old lady working in a Michael’s and tells her “that dress would look great on you.”  

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That’s a weird thing to say to someone in front of your wife/girlfriend/whoever that lady is.  She makes a face that agrees.  He also asks if she still paints florals (no) and exposits that the last time he saw her was like 5 years ago at his father’s funeral.  His lady asks for the amex and he has it between his middle and index finger in a second.  Rich people don’t need wallets!

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YEAH WHY??

Paula and Gary are all ready to go this party and she’s in a total panic.  When they get out to go into the gallery she realizes that she has a safety pin in her skirt and that she never mended it.  She’s horrified but Gary is all “you look great!”  She says that there will be women in here with dresses on that cost $1200 PLUS TAX and he looks at her like she’s insane.  They walk in and some old bitties are all “so out of season” as if they’re talking about her skirt and shirt/cardigan combo.  Some girl they know named Janine is there and they chat.

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I’m accustomed to an art scene full of young, hot people wearing black and not this hot old bitties club that exists in this town.
But after all this hubbub she looks totally normal and great.

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Paula looks at art and Nick creeps up on her and asks “where’s Gary?” first thing.  Then he says he has something to show her when he realizes Gary isn’t right there and Chris assumes it’s his penis.  Nope, it’s a stupid painting of bullshit in a private room.  Oh wait, this private room implies that Chris might be correct still!

Gary chats with their friend about how her relationship fizzled because she wanted kids and he didn’t and Gary is all “it will all work out because you’re a nice person” and lol.  That’s not how the world works, silly Gary!

Nick asks if she would ever like to work in a gallery again but then says it’s a secret as his wife walks up- why a secret?  Wife is all “nice skirt.”  Paula goes back to Gary but Gary wants to go chat with Nick, she looks annoyed.  The friend is all “you were so lucky, dating both of them in high school” and Paula agrees.  That was the best!  Friend says that she made the right choice though because Gary is a great dad.  Well, being able to provide for your family is part of being a good parent and also Gary makes fart faces ALL THE TIME so I don’t know.

On the drive home Gary pops out of the car to pull some tree off the side of the road.  It’s like 2 ft tall and really skinny so the kids aren’t super excited in the morning.  Gary leaves to do more of his pro-bono construction while mom sarcastically talks about her day in Paris he’s leaving her to.

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She kisses her daughters on the forehead while thinking about how she could be boning that Nick guy right now instead of stuck in this prison.  Then she sits on the floor and cries.  Once she’s done crying she goes to find the kids’ homemade ornaments when she hears some lady saying she’s late to her appointment with Armando.  Where is that lady’s voice coming from??

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OMG it’s coming from inside her shitty old washer.  She climbs through the washer into her fancy new life (where there are colorful LG washers… and a maid).  

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She’s like “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO CRAZY HOW DID THIS HAPPEN WHERE AM I WHAT’S GOING ON?!?” and yet the maid doesn’t think she’s totally nuts somehow.  She’s wearing a silk robe so you know she’s the fanciest.  Nick yells in that he hired someone to hang the lights because now her life is free from bullshit like decorating your own house for Christmas.  I know some rich people but they decorate their own houses for Christmas.  This is cold and weird and not for me at all.  Their ornaments are baccarat and flown in from Italy apparently.

She runs around the house just taking in all its sumptuousness.  Especially in the giant bath tub.  It’s a very long fantasy montage of clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, kissing photos, jumping on the bed, and furs.

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Chris went to bed and said “I have seen plenty of this movie (we are 38 minutes in).”  Paula is all “as far is dreams go this is first class!”  End montage.

Nick is all “don’t drop by the office today, I’m tied up” and Paula gushes about how great he is but he’s 100% having an affair.  The maid gives her “your husband is having an affair” eyes but Paula doesn’t get it.  She runs off to get her hair done by Armando- he says he has made a masterpiece but the movie doesn’t reveal her until the next scene… when she has her hair up and it looks boring.  

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Everyone at the club is all “what did you do to your hair??” as if it’s not just some boring up do.  At the club she is so confusing to all of the ladies because she doesn’t know their names or any of their history.  Then she just gets up and leaves to go buy that red dress because now she can.  She literally just gets up while they’re eating and walks out saying “THAT RED DRESS” like that’s a normal way to have brunch with your friends. It’s so sad when people are so poor that they don’t know how eating and speaking to people is like.

Where is this town where this poor ass family can afford a nice house but a store down the street sells $1200 dresses and $800 nightgowns from France?  I need to move there and take advantage of these housing prices ASAP. Look at this cute house that poor people can afford, just a few minutes from a sumptuous mansion:

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Paula shows up at the gallery, despite Nick asking her not to, and his assistant is all “he’s in a private meeting.” His “office” says “private” on the outside like it’s the janitor closet or something.  She goes in anyway and he’s in there with Sheila having a meeting with papers and stuff and they’re not even close to each other so maybe he’s having a very dull affair.  Sheila and his assistant look at Paula like she’s sad and pathetic so it appears that she hasn’t been cool in these past years. Why hasn’t she been painting and working in galleries all these years? That seemed to be what she was wistful for.

She comes home with a zillion shopping bags and says she used every single credit card in her purse.  Why?  Use cash if you’re so rich.  Why do you have so many credit cards?  

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She tells the maid they’re eating in tonight and the maid is totally unprepared and shocked by this news.  She finds out the Christmas Eve party is catered and says “I am so lucky” and goes to take a jacuzzi bath.

It’s funny because in this version of things Sheila looks and acts pretty much the same as the other one and so is Gary and Nick so maybe Paula is also disliked in her other life too but so poor she can’t go anywhere anyway?  Gary and his friend are over at Nick’s house hanging Christmas lights and his friend is all “didn’t Nick marry your high school girlfriend?” and Gary tells him to cool it.  In this reality we find out that Gary has been with their friend Janine since High School and they have two kids. She just walks away from him while he’s talking.

She’s at home wearing a silk dress and all of the jewelry in the world drinking wine waiting for Nick to come home.  She asks the housekeeper if she’s wearing too much jewelry and she says “for a parade float, no, but for a person, yes.”  Good one!  She doesn’t take the note though and just drinks more wine.  

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She never once wonders why her husband isn’t home despite the housekeeper dropping very obvious hints and even saying “your husband loves women.” She’s just so happy about all that shopping she did today- nothing can take her off this high!

They show Nick at work kissing Sheila once and saying she makes him happy so that’s the boring affair in all its glory.  Paula asks the housekeeper why they’ve never had kids and the housekeeper says she’s never thought about it but looks very confused.

He gets home and she wants to dance and have a fun date night but he’s too tired from his long day at the office and grumps all over it.  Also, this dude is obviously Canadian now.  She tells him about her great idea to take him to Paris and he’s like “why would we do that when we’re getting divorced?”  She’s like “whhhhhaaaaaaaaa?” and he fills in that she filed for divorce, they have signed papers and reached a settlement and that it was all her idea.  She’s in shock.  He says he never wants to have this conversation again and that it goes through at midnight on Christmas Eve.  In these movies everyone is working on Christmas Eve, especially in the legal system.

Paula follows him to the gallery to say that she doesn’t want the divorce anymore.  He says she asked for it a year ago and it’s over.  No one bats an eye at this bananas hair though:

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She says “I don’t want to give up on this life yet!” and he says that she’s much more concerned about the life than about being with him because she doesn’t love him.  She actually says that it doesn’t make sense that they couldn’t make it work because they had so much money.  It’s true!  Rich people never divorce.

He says that he’s moved on and found someone who loves him for who he is. She says that she could have married him OR Gary but she chose him so he should be psyched but he says she doesn’t love him.  To be fair to Nick, he wasn’t having an affair, they’ve been separated for a year and Sheila knew.  The housekeeper really fanned those flames instead of mentioning the divorce.

Paula lays in silk pajamas and whines that she’s ready to go home now while “clicking her heels” together but WTF are these feet?  I know I hate feet so this is my nightmare but was she in some kind of accident?

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It’s interesting that only now has she considered missing her kids at all.  Once she realized that she wasn’t happily married in this sterile version.  Why not just be rich and single in this version?  She tries to climb into the washing machine but it doesn’t work and now the housekeeper definitely thinks she’s nuts.  So she gets into her luxury car and drives across town to Gary’s house and realizes that it’s filled with something money can’t buy, love.

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She goes to bed and dreams about her kids telling her they love her and she wakes up on an ugly floral pillowcase so you know she’s back.  Oh wait, Janine is still there too and no one can see her and it’s a dream.  She wakes up hearing Gary outside putting up lights with a drill.  Are these permanent?  Why is this a week long job? Why Why Why?

Gary’s friend gives him crap about Janine being jealous of him working there.  Are all of these people supposed to be much younger than they look?  Gary looks 40 but they’re acting like high school wasn’t that long ago.  Who cares who you dated in high school?  Chris’s first girlfriend was like at 19/20 and if she was in town I wouldn’t give two craps about him seeing her or running into her or whatever.  I really don’t get it.

Paula, yet again, says crazy stuff to Gary as if he remembers their past and she sounds 100% like she’s trying to get him to cheat on his wife.  She’s also getting her hair done again for the 2nd time in a week.  That’s just stupid.  Gary blows her off for being weird and he’s 100% correct.

She sits at a coffee place and cries into her latte but then accosts a strange child on the street and scares the crap out of her.

Paula, enjoy financial freedom and just bask in it for a few more minutes here.  Pay a of your bills for the next year just because you can.

Paula shows up at Gary’s house but Janine answers and is worried that there is something wrong with the Christmas lights. It’s weird that the kids are 100% the same as her kids but I guess it’s all bullshit so who cares how genetics work.  The kids ignore her.

We find out that Paula and Gary have a 3br/2ba house with a big yard so, again, tell me where this is so I can buy a house ASAP.  Gary comes home and Paula says more totally insane things to him about how she misses him.  He’s like “you’re so weird, that was high school.”  Yes.  He and Janine are about to go out dancing and she’s so jealous but Gary keeps being nice to her.  He does ask her to stop saying things like this while his family is right downstairs.  Gary says he’ll come over tomorrow and do the Christmas lights (that he’s now been doing for 5 days I guess) and tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

Paula goes to leave and Gary’s friend walks in to watch the kids and is all EYE BALLS when he sees Paula there.  She invites them all to the party.  They are all like “I might be washing my hair but thanks” and man she really isn’t popular at all in this version of reality.  What has she been doing for all of these years?  A little bit of money made her a monster for the past 15-20 years?

She lays on a couch which perfectly macrame-d hair and looks wistful.  

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Gary comes back to finally finish these damn lights and she’s all “YOU CAME BACK!” and she’s bananas. He looks like he’s going to commit her.  He asks what she wants and she says “I REALLY JUST WANT YOU TO KISS ME!” and they lean in and he reminds her that he can’t because he made a choice a long time ago and he’s happy with that.  “Right, choices” – Paula.  She just summed up the movie in two words and a deep sigh.

She goes back to the basement to climb into the washer again.

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She asks the housekeeper why she’s so miserable with all this money and the housekeeper is all “life without love is not worth living.”  OH SHUT UP STUPID MOVIE.  That’s not true. Or at least romantic love.  Stop implying that she can’t have friends or strong relationships or family because she’s rich.  Like, where are her parents?  Where are her friends?  Why is she just in a house taking baths all day?  Nick said she used to paint and they wanted to travel so why wasn’t that her life in this world? I hate the idea that without a husband you’re nothing and it’s also not true.

Paula and the housekeeper have a dull heart to heart about love and Paula says she’s been married to Gary for 18 years and the housekeeper is so confused.  Paula goes and buys gifts for her kids and sends them anonymously.

PS, 18 years!  They’ve been married for 18 years so presumably like 40 years old (as suspected) and they’re still jealous over high school bullshit?  And we’re supposed to think she and Nick have been married for 18 years?

She buys him a fancy cordless drill and gives money to a bell ringing santa as well (which you shouldn’t do, efff that).  Santa literally runs off with the money after he watches her throw in a wad of hundreds.

The Christmas Eve party looks so boring but I guess this implies that she has friends?  Nick has brought Sheila to this party.  Sheila is awkward because it’s weird being in his house he had with his wife.  He’s all “I become a free man at midnight, don’t you wanna be here to make sure no one else snatches me up?”  Ew, go for it, bro.  You didn’t even wait until you were single so why wait now?

We find out Paula is in some back room in a silk room crying in the dark during the party.

She comes into the party dramatically in the red dress from before and Nick was right, it does look great on her.  She just looks around for Gary and then runs right into Sheila and it’s awkward but they say nice things to each other and it’s a nice lady bonding moment.

Paula gives the housekeeper a gift and it’s one of her pearl necklaces and she’s all “this is too beautiful!” Paula makes her take it and says “you’re such a good friend to me.”  She cries to her that Gary isn’t coming and the housekeeper isn’t like “you mean, with his wife and kids?”

Just like that Gary walks in and gives her that ornament that broke at the beginning, she looks shocked, and they kiss.  

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Now she’s back in her old life.  They’re all standing around her as though she got knocked out on the basement floor.  How long has she been out for? Anyone worried how that happened?  Nope!

“There’s no place like home I’ll tell you what!” she says to her kids when they run up to look at the tree.  Mysterious gifts arrive at the door that are from her in the other dimension and it’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OH MY GOD.  They love all their gifts and Gary gives her that stupid ornament from their first Christmas and says exactly what he said in the other world. He found an ornament from 18 years ago and replaced it? Is that something that is possible?

Now she appreciates her regular clothes that look totally normal.  Janine walks in and Gary has set her up with his construction partner and it’s cute.

Oh gawddd I refuse to believe that the only difference was that one she loved until she married him because money changed things.  So lazy to imply that’s the root of all evil instead of making the other side a fleshed out world with friends and a passion for something.  I should write one of these movies where they realize how great their life would be in the other version and then come back to their old life and fall into a deep depression knowing that they’ve wasted their life.  If this happened as much as it did it movies that outcome would happen some of the time (if not a lot of the time).

Merry Christmas, everyone!

*from one of my very favorite sketches on Mr. Show called “Prenatal Pretties” about fetus ultrasound beauty pageants.

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