Switched for Christmas (2017)

Y’all, Hallmark is making our Christmas dreams come true! We’ve got double the Candace Cameron Bure in Switched for Christmas and I am here for it….er, maybe not, because this twin swap movie is kind of boring, in spite or because of the double Cameron Bure. Take your pick.

I’m kind of bummed because I was honestly looking forward to this, strictly in a “lemme kill an hour and a half while I do my laundry” kind of way. I love me a good Parent Trap story, and Hallmark hasn’t tried it before, at least not with the one hundred Christmas movies they put out in the past year. You’d think that this would represent a new and exciting bag of tricks for them. You know, infinite soap opera possibilities. As they always do, however, the writers default to the banal. These folks are not risk takers, and that is kind of the point. Switched is safe and safely void of creativity. Once the novelty of double CCB wears off, there’s not a lot to keep you watching.

The highlight is seeing the actress tackle two roles, Kate and Chris. The writers do their best to distinguish the twin sisters. Kate is the cosmopolitan, a real estate developer who works all the time, lives alone in her posh, polished condo, and wears dresses from the Ivanka Trump collection. Her sister couldn’t be more different. Chris is a single mother of two teens and a harried teacher. Also, her lipstick isn’t bright red and she loves a cozy sweater.

The two are night and day and as such, don’t really get on with one another. Over forced bonding time, they conceive a plan to swap places. It’s not because they want to experience the thrill of leading a double life but because both are stubborn and think the other has it easy. Each is out to prove that her life is harder, a designation that conveys moral superiority I guess? Ugh, sisters.

Their initial attempts to ape the other are predictable but could pass for funny. Kate is horrified at the prospect of wearing comfortable clothes and adopting bad posture. She also has to survive a day playing mom to Chris’s kids (one of whom is CCB’s actual kid) before they go visit their dad. Chris has a little more fun glamming it up, but what the hell is going on with the sleek minimalism, she wonders? The disdain she has for these soulless, status-searing automatons, a sentiment I support as a fellow teacher.

If Cameron Bure had greater range, well, she probably wouldn’t be making Hallmark movies, but she might also give her characters more of a spark. I get the idea is that Kate and Chris grow closer and in some ways more similar to one another; Kate loosens up while Chris finds some professional fulfillment. But Cameron Bure is always playing some variation of the same person, and you might as well throw Aurora Teagarden into the mix and make this a feuding trio (not a serious suggestion, Hallmark). The physicality and general temperament of her characters never changes even if the background does.

I’m going to go ahead and not recommend this movie, but Hallmark superfans may add it to the queue anyway. I say make like Kate’s office manager and ditch this party to write a book called either Dogsleds to Dallas or Dog Sleds to Dallas.

Released: 2017
Dir: Lee Friedlander
Writer: Tracy Andreen, Lee Friedlander
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Elon Bailey, Mark Deklin, Adam Sinclair, Angella Joy, Natasha Bure
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2017