The Christmas Swap (2016) - TV One
Hey kids, you might not remember this but back in the day we had a rush of 'body swap' movies starring people like Dudley Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Kirk Cameron and the like, then as soon as the appeared... they disappeared. Probably because they were terrible. But if these modern Christmas movies are good for one thing, they are good for dredging up old plot devices and that's what we get with the Christmas Swap.
Gerry (Dondre Whitfield) is a hardworking barista in Louisiana looking after his bratty son and Alzheimer afflicted mom, and also avoiding signing the divorce papers from his hateful wife. Ellis (Christian Keyes) is a driven, super rich, super handsome, super fit LA lawyer who slave drives his employees, constantly cheats on his girlfriend and completely ignores his family back in Louisiana.
One day while Gerry was working the graveyard shift at the coffee shop... wait, graveyard shift at a coffee shop? That is a crap gig. Anyway, while working this graveyard shift Gerry gets a visit from a magical black person. We're not talking Morgan Freeman from Driving Miss Daisy or Will Smith from Bagger Vance magical, but a legitimate magical black person, and this eleven year old kid grants Gerry his Christmas Wish. This to have his brothers golden life in Los Angeles.
Now Gerry wakes up in LA, in Ellis' fresh crib next to his smoking girlfriend and everything is awesome. Nice clothes, nice cars, head of his own Law firm, plus he's a compassionate boss and now his employees love him. Ellis wakes up in crappy Louisiana, crap job, bratty kid, whiny sick mom, busted ride and terrible clothes. He's miserable.
Of course the two brothers then set about the business of fixing their respective lives, like Ellis getting Gerry a better a gig and taking better care of their sick mom... by putting her in an assisted living facility... while Gerry is giving Ellis a soul and looking after his neglected girlfriend. But then Gerry starts missing his mom and the bratty kid, while Ellis starts missing... well... this is where this movie just throws Christmas Movie Convention right into the wind.
This is a strange movie in quite a few ways. So Ellis, the good looking rich brother, decides he doesn't want his old life back and instead wants to stay in Gerry's crap life as sort of fresh start. I mean he gives legitimate reasons why he wants this, but that's not the way this is supposed to go. Usually in a movie like this, the estranged wife gets back with her husband and kid, and the neglected girlfriend sees the New Ellis and all is well. Nope. Left hanging in the wind. They might get back together or they might not. Then I'm thinking surely they're going to cure the mom of her debilitating brain disease... but no... she's f'n dies. Dead. And the brothers do kind of iron out their differences, but it looks to me like they still kind of hate each other a little.
The weird thing is all of this kind of works. Whitfield and Keyes are pretty good actors and they both did pretty good with the 'Face\Off' aspects of inhabiting each others skin, and the fact that this movie really flies into the face of Christmas movie convention kind of keeps you guessing a bit, which is damned unheard off in a movie like this.
Yes, there was some tired dialog and uncomfortable melodrama, but it is still a Christmas movie. And there was this strange scene in the end where the a younger version of the dead Mom was ethereally looking over her adult son, flanked by the child versions of Gerry and Ellis... but Gerry and Ellis aren't dead yet. I don't who those kids really are. Demons I'm guessing.
Anyway, what can I tell you? This one was watchable.