Unlocking Christmas

So, another Sunday night, another “mystery” movie. Will this one be as disappointing as nearly every other attempt at creating a Christmas mystery? I hope not. Neither my heart nor my brain can take it. Let’s get to it.

Our movie begins with our lead, Kate moving into a new place. She is about to start a medical fellowship. Her doorbell rings and her neighbor, Maggie drops in unannounced. She thought it would be MORE FUN that way. It sure was, Mags. Maggie took the initiative and decorated Kate’s home exterior for her. That’s not nosy or imposing. Maggie wonders if Kate has any family coming for Christmas. Nope. Also, I love her sweater.

Then Maggie’s…son? arrives in a taxi. Why doesn’t anyone pick anyone up from the airport?

Kate was matched at this hospital for her fellowship but it was NOT HER FIRST CHOICE. Let’s be clear about that. She catches up briefly with her new boss.

Later Maggie and her family eat a big dinner. Kevin seems to have just moved back. Even though he arrived via taxi. He doesn’t have a job or a place to live or a car. SOUNDS AWESOME.

Kate and Kevin run into each other at a coffee shop. Kate is holding about 8 cups of coffee. Kevin notices her name on the cups. FUNNY.

Later, Kate gets introduced to the staff at the hospital. Kate meets one of the nurses. She seems very friendly. Kate just gets right to work. Well, what do you know. KEVIN is one of her patients. Kevin doesn’t need any help but his MOM made him. His leg hurts a teensy bit. He was injured in the military. He tells Kate how he got injured. His parachute malfunctioned. He has recurring pain every now and then.

After the appointment, Kate discovers that Maggie is Kevin’s mom. Kate’s nurse friend is planning lots of Christmas events for…the hospital? No. That can’t be right.

Kevin catches up with a friend at the hardware store. His friend is having a baby. The friend wants to set him up but DATING IS THE LAST THING ON HIS MIND RIGHT NOW. Kevin has no idea what he wants to do with his life.

Kate does a crossword puzzle alone at home.

Then, Kate and Kevin both get mysterious IDENTICAL packages. Could it be two pieces of a friendship necklace they have to return to their owners? Fingers crossed. No, it’s a key with a riddle inside. The keys seem the same and the poems are identical. SO WHAT GIVES.

The next day, Kevin and Kate separately try to solve the riddle and both wonder if they are really going to participate in this riddle game. It does seem like Kate is definitely going to a strange place at night because an unaddressed poem told her to. Kevin is game as well. Is no one worried about their safety and security? They run into each other at the mailbox in the Christmas Square. They are like DANG GIRL! Crazy running into you here! So the mailbox has two keys. The letter in the mailbox wants them to choose a Christmas memory from their childhood and do it to/for someone else. I HAVE A MILLION QUESTIONS at the moment. Also there was an envelope that said do not open? Anyway, they’re not doing the activity…YET.

The next day, the Christmas band the nurse reserved DOUBLE BOOKED ITSELF. As happens so often this time of year. Then Kevin talks to his dad about how DANG STUBBORN Kate is. Then Kate comes into the hardware shop and they agree to keep at the mystery.

The next day (?) Kate deals with a hypochondriac at work. That night Kevin and Kate talk about their favorite Christmas traditions. They share their favorite traditions and then land on a great idea. They are going to decorate ornaments. Or make ornaments. Something with ornaments. Kate calls Liz to set it up.

The next day, Kate share this ornament tradition with kids and their families at the hospital. Kate goes to run interference between a frustrated kid and his mom. He has a broken arm. Kevin notices the airplane the kid is holding and shares his injury story. So their ornament decorating even was a big success.

After the event, they open the second envelope. It is another mystery! They both have things to do so they agree to meet up later. Kevin has a meeting with the job center. Then he helps his friend set up a crib. They talk about being afraid and being brave in the military and in parenthood. Because those are the same types of risks.

Later, Kevin and Kate walk and talk. It seems their brains work the same way! They both like puzzles. They end up at Juniper Square. They run into Maggie. Maggie is elated to see them together. Then Maggie forces Kate to come over for dinner the following night. Someday, when I’m past the prime of my life, I’m going to become a nosy extroverted neighbor and force all the single people in my neighborhood to eat too much food at my house. Or I will watch TV for hours on end in blissful silence. Either way.

Kate and Kevin agree to compete in the “Annual Reindeer Race” at the festival. It’s a potato sack race but the potato sacks look like Santa bags. Also they need to wear reindeer nametags. I think Kevin won but really, did anyone? Then, they have a MOMENT. Then Kate realizes the answer to their riddle. They head to the museum!

The hypochondriac runs the museum. Wow there is a “Kevin” and a “Mr. McCallister.” VERY CLEVER. Anyway, Mr. McCallister has a few new suggestions for ailments he might have. And then Kate makes a casual HIPAA violation. But no matter! They are on the case! They find a little miniature city in the museum. Kevin’s grandpa built it and the donated it to the town or the museum or whatever. Kevin used to help his grandpa build it. They also see a carriage. Then, they find ANOTHER CLUE. Two envelopes again. They have to send a message of Christmas Cheer to someone they don’t know.

Kate sees Mr. McCallister again the next day. She asks his advice for a Christmas message. He tells her Christmas is the last thing on his mind. WONDER WHAT THAT’S ALL ABOUT. But no, let’s not ask any questions about that. Let’s just keep patting this silly old man on the head about his pretend ailments.

That night Kate goes to Kevin’s for dinner. She presumably hears TONS of stories about Kevin. Then Maggie and Arnold share how they met. It’s cute. Then it’s time for a stroll down memory lane near the Christmas tree as they look at old family photos. Kevin had frosted tips! Then Kevin tells them that he loved getting cards when he was stationed overseas. So Kate suggests sending cards to troops overseas for their Christmas mystery assignment. Well that is a great idea! Because of the time limitation, they decide to do a video message. It’s going to be from the WHOLE TOWN. Better get to work.

The next day, Jackson gets the video stuff all set up. People do individual messages and a big group one. This is a really lovely idea. Later, Kate and Kevin review their work with the video message. They send it off to Kevin’s friend in the military who will distribute it I guess? Kevin talks about what he wants to do next. He doesn’t want to take over the hardware store for his dad. Kevin doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do next. Who cares? It’s time for the second envelope. But Also is NO ONE SUSPICIOUS of this yet? Their next clue is a codex. Kevin has never heard of such a thing. HAVE YOU NOT READ THE DA VINCI CODE KEVIN?!! They try a few words to open it. No luck No matter, Kevin wonders if she’s going to the tree lighting that night. They agree to meet there.

They try to work on the codex a little more but then run into Jackson and Carol. They can’t agree on a nursery theme. How about NO THEME. Carol suggests “clouds” as a theme. With smiley faces on them. CAROL. WHAT. Also, Jackson and Carol are having an ugly sweater party the following night. Then the…mayor invites Kevin up to light the tree. He must be the only troop in town. I’m just glad he didn’t call Kate up to do it. This tree has fireworks! Otherwise, it’s pretty pathetic. Why are all these town Christmas trees so tiny!

After the tree lighting, Kate and Kevin do some more walking and talking. They share more Christmas memories. Then they try more words on the codex. No luck. Kate invites Kevin and his family over to decorate her tree with her. So that is very sweet. Kate tells Kevin that her first choice had been in Chicago but she matched here. They talk more about their dreams; namely Kate’s. They’re both glad to be in each other’s company.

The next day, Mr. McCallister is back at the doctor’s office with new ailments. ASK HIM HOW HE’S DOING MISSY! PAY ATTENTION. Here we go. Mr. McCallister shares that his wife died this year and there’s no point in celebrating Christmas this year. So NOW WE’RE GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS.

Later, Kevin and Jackson have some bro time and talk about Kate. Now Kevin doesn’t want to get involved because she’s leaving in a YEAR. And what, Kevin, you’re so rooted here? With your zero job, driving your dad’s work truck around? And a year is a perfect amount of time because by the end of that year they might be in a place to make decisions about next steps together. KEVIN. GET IT TOGETHER.

That night is the ugly sweater party. Kevin and Kate both wear appropriate sweaters. They reiterate that they had a nice time the other night. She also had another idea for the codex. They try another word-giving. IT WORKED. He just like wrenched that thing apart. I think it would have opened either way with how hard he pulled on it. Their next challenge is to donate to a toy drive. But then Kevin notices that they’re standing under mistletoe and POINTS IT OUT like the AWKWARD LUNATIC he is. Then that VA staffing agency calls Kevin late at night. That employee is really burning the midnight oil for ol KEV. She has a good job for him but the job is in California. He agrees to let her submit his name.

Kate gets some positive feedback from her boss the next day. So that’s nice. He wants her to think about staying beyond her fellowship. It’s only been what, a week? Let’s just slow it down a little boss. Later, Kevin interviews with the disaster relief organization.

Kevin and Kate meet at the Juniper Square toy drive. They find a gift clue in the mix of boxes. Luckily no one else found it first! Now they have to create a meaningful memory for each other? That gives Kate an idea and she’s off. She runs to Mr. McCallister’s office. She tells him his pains are just from missing his wife. I am not sure she truly understands him and his grief. And I’m not sure she gives him very good advice. Mr. McCallister looks at some pictures of his wife and tears up a little bit but that DOESN’T MAKE ANYONE CRY. Personally, I am outraged that they included this emotional scene. AND THIS MINI STORYLINE ALTOGETHER, FRANKLY.

Later, Kate decorates her Christmas tree and Mr. McCallister wanders around Juniper Square alone. Then Kate gets a call that she actually could go to Chicago for her fellowship. Then Kevin gets a call that he got the job! So wow this is all LOTS OF INFORMATION.

The next day Mr. McCallister is waiting for Kate in the lobby. She tries to apologize but he says it’s not necessary. He said doing Christmas things actually made him feel better. He gives Kate some candy canes to say thank you. Oh that is so sweet.

Later, Jackson Facetimes Kevin and shows him the nursery. Do people really FaceTime that much? Kevin tells Jackson about his interview in California. He was offered the job. But he hasn’t told Kate yet. His dad overhears that Kevin may have gotten a job in California. His dad is like COOL! That would be awesome. Kevin is like, who is going to take over the hardware store? His dad is like, what are you talking about? Am I dead? Anyway, he couldn’t care less.

Kate catches up with her nurse friend Liz about the fellowship. Kate doesn’t know what to do. Then Carol stops by and spills the beans about Kevin’s job. Carol unhelpfully leaves out the bit where Kevin didn’t know whether he was going to take the job. Little miss nursey-nurse gives some sound friendship advice that largely centers around COMMUNICATING.

Kevin gets a video message from a military base thanking the town for the video. Kate overhears Kevin talking on the phone to the Disaster Relief company but walks out BEFORE HE REJECTS THE JOB OFFER. KATE! HALLMARK! YOU IDIOTS. EAVESDROP BETTER.

Later, Kevin arrives at Kate’s house. He notices all of Kate’s boxes getting packed. He’s like, what! You’re going to just take that job and not even tell me? Why doesn’t Kate say, aren’t you going to California? Good Heavens these people. He gives her some kind of horse riding ticket for the Christmas memory gift. I don’t really know what that’s about but she seems touched. Did she even DO ANYTHING for him?

The next morning, Kate heads to Kevin’s house. Maggie tells Kate that Kevin is staying in town. Don’t you feel like a REAL DUMB DUMB NOW, KATE? Later, Kevin talks to his dad about an idea-building homes for local families in need. His dad asks if he’s told Kate about this. Arnold thinks Kate will forgive Kevin after they do the Christmas morning memory. FORGIVE HIM FOR WHAT first of all. These two dummies are only guilty of not updating each other with what’s new in their personal lives.

Then Kevin is like, wait I never told you about the Christmas morning memory business. And finally, the jig is up. Arnold and Maggie were behind it. Someone else apparently did this same weird bit to THEM and they were just hoping they could do it for Kevin some day. That’s just a little weird. It’s very weird but I don’t have the time nor the energy to ask the many questions I have.

Kate and her pal walk and talk about the mess she made with her bad eavesdropping. She has no idea what to do for Kevin. Then she gets a good idea. She needs Mr. McCallister’s help though. Good thing she cured him of his grief and sadness!! As Kevin closes the store that night, Kate pulls up in the carriage from the museum. Kevin tells her that his parents were behind all the mysteries. So that’s cool, right Kate? Not weird at all? Then they apologize for being silly gooses and agree to stay in whatever this town is called. Then they KISS of course. And that’s how these two unlocked Christmas.

So yeah I kind of liked this one. Lots of silly moments of course. But I thought it was a fun scavenger hunt mystery concept and the big reveal at the end was not underwhelming like some of the other “mystery” movie. I liked that a characters that were actually apart of the whole movie were behind the mystery rather than a stranger introduced for one scene. So, yeah! This was an enjoyable one. Let’s rate it. Total score 6/20.

  1. Clumsy Meet Cute
  2. Christmas Tree Lighting
  3. Christmas puns (I think)
  4. A sassy and wise best friend
  5. nonsense drama
  6. Christmas-y montage

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