The Ringer’s 25 Days of Bingemas is a guide for people who love original holiday movies; it’s a guide for people who hate original holiday movies; it’s a guide for people who occasionally watch these movies and want more; it’s a guide for people who never hope to watch these movies but would like to watch one writer descend into madness as she attempts to differentiate between 25 unique forms of holiday magic, 12 different fake countries, and eight different male leads who make you wonder, “Wait, is that the guy from Mean Girls?” (It isn’t, except for that one time when it is.) Every day for the next 25 days, Jodi Walker will feature one of this season’s 169 original holiday movies, answering a curated series of questions in order to showcase the genre’s masterful formula, the dedication to chaos, and the commitment to consistently widowing lumberjacks that launched an entire genre of TV movie. On the ninth day of Bingemas, we turn our cheerful spirits to …
What are we watching?
Where are we watching it?
Why are we watching it?
Because Alex is headed to Switzerland to spend Christmas at her mom’s new inn. Unfortunately, Alex’s mom also invited her former best friend Beth, who’s dating Alex’s ex-boyfriend.
No Vanessa Hudgenses star in this movie, but one Jodie Sweetin does. The most important thing to know about Jodie Sweetin is that she’s not Candace Cameron Bure. She also has no brand loyalty, and I love that about her. She’ll bounce from Hallmark to Lifetime to … ideally Netflix at some point, because her quirky demeanor deserves a better wardrobe budget. Sweetin’s flavor of the film is Liam, played by Tim Rozon, who you probably know as Mutt from Schitt’s Creek—remember him that way, cherish him that way. Seriously: do not watch Merry Swissmas.
Any chance they just thought of this title, and then built an entire movie around it?
I wish this movie had been called Merry Swiss Miss, a story about a hot chocolate heiress in a battle of wills—and feelings—with a local chocolatier from her ancestral homeland. But it’s not! It’s about a very nice, successful young woman whose entire family is gaslighting her into forgiving her former best friend who started dating Alex’s first love months after they broke up, and seemingly never apologized for it or talked to her about it until she came to Alex’s family’s Christmas trip without telling her she’s now engaged to the ex-boyfriend!!!
It is also ostensibly about Christmas in Switzerland. That’s clearly the entire reason this movie was made, and yet you literally will not meet one Swiss character in the entire film. Liam was, like, born in Switzerland, but he moved to New York when he was nine because [checks notes] Tim Rozon wasn’t about to attempt a Swiss accent.
Are there inn-related high jinks?
I hate to be such a downer in our first true pan of Bingemas, so I will tell you that my only moment of pure joy while watching this movie was when Alex’s co-worker and exposition machine said, “I still can’t believe your mom decided to purchase an inn in Switzerland.” I let out an honest-to-Santa squeal. There is no greater feeling than thinking, “Wow, maybe there won’t be a quaint inn in this original holiday movie, maybe her love interest won’t be widowed.” And then BOOM—mom bought an inn in the Swiss Alps and the hot general manager’s wife is dead. It’s the little things that count during Christmastime.
How believable are the lead characters’ ostensible careers?
Alex is an architect who travels all over the world pitching designs for fancy hotels. It’s an incredible job that almost every loser around her treats as a burden on her life and happiness, even though she seems pretty happy traveling across the world every other week (probably making side trips to the bone zone too, if her ability to immediately pull tail in Switzerland is anything to go by). Liam is the general manager of Alex’s mom’s small inn in Switzerland, but he used to be a big-wig hotel manager. While getting to know each other, Liam tells Alex he was running the Bern Palace Hotel before this, and asks if she’s heard of it. “Have I heard of the most expensive hotel in Europe?” Alex asks sarcastically. “Yes, I have.”
Now I have a question: Have you heard of the most expensive hotel in Europe? If I had to wager a guess, maybe like … The White Lotus in Sicily? A Four Seasons somewhere? And I guess I have one more question: If Liam is such a wunderkind hotel manager, why does he spend literally this entire movie asking Alex—an architect?!—for help with the inn’s grand opening, doing aw-shucks shrugs while saying, “I’m just terrible at this kind of thing?” Terrible at what, being a hotel manager? This is how people end up dead, Liam!
Is there a villain who sows discord?
Fortunately for this movie, there is an inn. Unfortunately for this movie that inn is owned by Alex’s mom, a supervillain the likes of which we have not seen since Danny Glover in The Christmas Train. First, Alex’s mom invites Alex’s former best friend from birth, Beth, to Christmas without telling Alex in order to force them to make up. Except her idea of them making up is Alex just forgiving Beth for starting to date the first man she ever loved a few months after he broke up with Alex. Eventually, Alex does just bite the bullet and make up with Beth, even though Beth never really apologizes …
And then she finds out Beth and this guy are engaged when the guys shows up at the inn and tells her himself. The mom knew Beth was engaged and knew she was inviting the ex-boyfriend/fiance, and just didn’t tell Alex. She does however tell her, and I quote, “Don’t blow this out of proportion.” I would have blown up her little inn and walked away calmly like Angela Bassett, I’ll tell ya that damn much.
Is there a building in disrepair, or a business facing financial ruin?
No, but there’s gonna be if I have anything to do with it. Alex is a very nice woman with no faults that cannot be directly blamed on the hair and make up department. Does her hair look like an American Girl doll’s: perfectly curled, then kind of just … never the same again? Yes it does. But that doesn’t mean she deserves to have her clearly set boundaries constantly questioned. And for that matter, I really shouldn’t have to be thinking about boundaries, or using the phrase “This bitch, oh heeeell no,” while watching a Lifetime Christmas movie!
How problematic is the meet-cute on a scale of “one saved the other from falling in a snowbank” to “one is the other’s boss and they fall in love on a work trip”?
Liam saves Alex from a falling cardboard box—the most dangerous inanimate object of the holidays, apparently—and Alex’s mom yells, “You need to be more careful!” at the worker, despite the fact that Alex walked directly underneath his 12-foot ladder. You just know the Swiss CVS employees are shaking in their snow boots when they see her, waiting for her to ask for the manager.
How modest are the wardrobe choices?
After Liam and Alex meet for the first time, the rest of the movie is just Liam asking, “Hey, what are you doing tonight?” and then explaining Swiss stuff to her. While on their various dates to Weihnachtsmarkts, Alex wears the following things: a beige turtleneck, a giant beige puffer coat, and a beige beanie; outfits only a mother could claim to love before inviting your ex-boyfriend to Christmas.
Does anyone almost kiss only to be interrupted?
I really thought Alex and Liam were going to make it through this whole thing without kissing. Every scene in this movie seems like the first time any of these characters have ever met, especially Alex and Liam, who are always greeting each other like this:
Maybe that seems normal when you read it, but when was the last time you approached someone that you knew intimately (and wanted to know more intimately) and greeted them by name? That gave me the ick. Anyway, they do ultimately kiss after Alex decides to forgo a work trip to Argentina and stay in Switzerland. To which I say, don’t do it Alex! If Mr. Worldwide has taught me anything, it’s that there are hotties all over the world and you do not need to settle for this one.
What is the meaning of Christmas, as stated by the film?
According to the movie: “It’s never too late to start a new adventure.” According to me: “It’s never too late to report your mom’s inn to the Better Business Bureau.”