How merry was this mix-up? Very. Very merry.


A Very Merry Mix-Up is another offering from The Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas.” At its heart, A Very Merry Mix-Up is a sweet story. Alice Chapman (Alicia Witt, Urban Legend) has inherited her father’s antique shop and is struggling to make ends meet. But she loves the shop more than anything, working in it since she was 5 years old.

Her father’s death hit her hard and, thus, since the store is the only thing she has left of him, she is understandably fiercely protective of it and her role in running it. Her boyfriend Will Mitchum (Scott Gibson, No Easy Days) tries his best to understand her view; however he’s a more black-and-white kind of a guy and Alice’s store isn’t in the black at all. Being that he’s a real estate broker specializing in commercial properties, he sees Alice’s store with a problem with one obvious solution–she needs to sell the store. When Will proposes to Alice it takes her by surprise and she doesn’t say yes right away although she does eventually give in.

Now, not only is Christmas mere days away this is going to be the first time Alice has met Will’s family. A last minute business deal means Alice is going to fly and meet the family all by herself, a daunting prospect at any time but the added pressure of the holidays means there’s more stress. When Alice arrives at the airport she meets Matt Mitchum (Mark Wiebe, Lost After Dark) who is instantly smitten with her and he ends up taking her with him to his family’s house for Christmas. And it’s not until later on we realize what has actually happened. I won’t give it away but it’s an interesting way to get our two protagonists together.

There are several things to like about this film, topping the list would be Alicia Witt and her portrayal of Alice. She has good chemistry with Wiebe as well as Gibson. So I don’t have any issues there and the rest of the characters who populate this world are equally charming.

However, my issue is the same issue I have with movies such as Life As We Know It, and that is when a movie takes the time to set up a legitimate problem which will eventually tear characters apart and then not provide a solution to that problem. Instead choosing to gloss over it, as if the filmmakers are saying “trust us it all worked out in the end.”

My problem with that conceit is when so much time is invested in a problem (and in the case of A Very Merry Mix-Up the issue is Alice’s store,) then I need to know how exactly that very real concern ended up being solved in order to truly feel satisfied with the movie. If I’m supposed to focus solely on whether not this couple is going to be together or not then a variety of things need to happen to bring them together while a series of things need to happen to tear the other two people apart. Focusing on one thing as the main impetus for a relationship to change, however it’s going to change, gives weight to that problem which, when dismissed so briskly, leaves an empty feeling in the viewer.

I don’t recommend A Very Merry Mix-Up unless it happens to be on and you’re watching it as you’re wrapping presents. For a better, not only Hallmark movie but one starring Alicia Witt, check out the much more charming Christmas at Cartwright’s which has a bonus turn from lovable actor Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride) as an enigmatic Christmas consultant.

The film’s video is a typical 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and really doesn’t offer much standout elements in either category of technical specifications. The video doesn’t have any issues such as grain or pixilation but there’s nothing notable about it either. The same goes for the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which is a welcome surprise since I fully expected a 2.0 stereo, but it doesn’t draw attention to itself in any way which isn’t a negative but isn’t necessarily a positive either. There are no special features.

A Very Merry Mix-Up is a harmless movie however leaving the main complication unresolved onscreen as far as we know leaves me feeling colder than I want to feel during this warm festive season.

verdict
Guilty.

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Cinedigm, 87 minutes, NR (2013)

A/V

1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

SUBTITLES
None


EXTRAS
None

ACCOMPLICES
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3131456

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