**This contains spoilers**
Last night, Jane & I landed on the Christmas 24 movie channel just in time to see a recently released TV movie, A Very Merry Mix Up.
The story started with struggling antique store owner Alice (Alicia Witt) and property developer boyfriend Will (Scott Gibson) in Alice’s store, with Alice talking about a clock she has in stock. Will shows no appreciation for any of the items, but makes attempts to get Alice to sell up. Will proposes to Alice that evening, and despite some misgivings, Alice says yes. Will suggests they spend Christmas with his parents and announce their engagement. Alice flys off first, as Will has business to tie up.
The mix up referred to in the title of the movie occurs at Alice’s destination airport where her luggage goes missing. As fate would have it, an other passenger – Matt (Mark Wiebe) is having the same problem when a hand crafted gift he made also went missing. Matt accidentally spills coffee on Alice, shorting out her phone in the process meaning she has lost the address of Will’s parents. Matt apologies and offers Alice a lift. Oddly, Matt’s surname is the same as Will’s, and he expresses surprise when he says he has a brother Will – referred to as Billy – but he didn’t realise he even had a girlfriend. Matt and Alice head off to Matt (and Will’s) parents. En route, they have a car accident, and end up in hospital, where Alice meets Matt’s parents. They too are surprised to meet their future daughter-in-law, but immediately offer to take her to their house for the holidays.
Matt and Alice had been told by the doctor to not sleep for 24 hours to ensure they weren’t concussed, but that isn’t a problem as Matt’s mother and father – who Alice bonds with immediately make sure they remain awake. After Matt’s mother & father retire for the evening, Matt and Alice try to remain awake, and start to make cookies, and find themselves getting closer and closer. Alice grows even closer to the family who have made her so welcome. Matt explains the love story with his grandfather and deceased grandmother. Alice is captivated by the story, and it brings her even closer to Matt. It turns out that he is a craftsman, who makes furniture and clocks, a passion close to Alice’s heart. Alice then meets Matt’s grandfather, who takes to Alice immediately. The bonding between Alice and Matt & his family appears complete. Then Will (Billy) turns up.
Well, of course, it isn’t Will at all, and that it was a massive coincidence that landed Alice with Matt and his family. She is regretful and having to leave as she realised how special Matt and his family are. She is collected by Will who finally arrives (having done a cloak & dagger deal to sell Alice’s shop to facilitate a huge development on the block her store was located.) She finds that Will’s family is very different to Matt’s. They are all self-absorbed with no inclination to express any joy or Christmas spirit. Alice begins to wonder about whether or not its what she wants. She meets with Matt one more time for a walk, as Will shows no inclination to partake is such a frivolous activity. Regretfully, they part, and Alice returns to Will.
Matt meanwhile mournfully confesses to his mother that he though he and Alice had bonded. His mother agrees, as she had take to Alice immediately, like the rest of them. Matt gives up on the who things, thinking he’d lost his chance with Alice. Meanwhile, Will tells Alice and his parents that he had a surprise for Alice – that she was a millionaire after he’d agreed a deal for selling her shop. Alice is taken aback by this, as the shop had been her father’s and grandfather’s and that her sense of obligation to her family was strong. She needs time to think, and while she is considering it, Matt’s grandfather visits to deliver a gift from Matt to Alice. He reminds her of his wife’s message – true love can be found in eternity. On returning to the house, Will tells Alice he has another gift, even though his family don’t do Christmas gifts. It’s a lease to another shop so Alice can move her store. She tells him it won’t be her father’s store anymore. She tells Will she feels sick, and runs to the bathroom. She suddenly thinks to open Matt’s gift. Inside is a small hand-made clock. A loud ticking echoes that of the clock, and Alice’s life is spinning. It suddenly stops at 11.58pm – exactly the time she met Matt. Will comes in, and tells her again she should sell her shop, and that it was because of the development. Alice finally realises that this was not for her, and that the special bond she’d made with Matt and his family were what she needed. She gives her apologies to Will, and leaves, looking for Matt.
She and Matt have an emotional reunion, and Alice tells him that she had lost sight of who she was when she was with Will. Alice tells Matt that she loves him, and the scene with them together morphs into the picture on the clock in Alice’s store at the start of the movie. The movie finishes with Alice and Matt in her store where Matt finds an antique wedding ring. The movie ends at that point with the implication Matt and Alice would marry, after fate had taken its course.
Much to our amazement, we had enjoyed the movie. It was harmless, but lovely. It was obvious from the opening scenes that Will wasn’t for Alice, and that she would realise what her heart really desired. It was a heart-warming tale that was perfect for this time of the year. Alicia Witt & Mark Wiebe was excellent, and we got the happy ending we were looking for. If you see this on your TV listings, take the time for it. Its 90 minutes of Christmas cheese, but it will leave a warm feeling. It would get a 7/10 from this viewer.