Hallmark Friends. This week we watched “Mix Up In the Mediterranean.” I believe it is still part of the “Love Ever After” series but it was NOT Valentine’s themed at all. Which means we really only get ONE Valentine’s movie this year and that is just NOT enough for me!! Unless this weekend’s movie is Valentine’s themed? I honestly don’t know much about the plot. Anyway, let’s get into it.
Our leading man Josh tries to stun the patrons of a small Alaskan diner with his mom’s famous Baked Alaska. His boss is not impressed. These small town Alaskan hillbillies just want DINER FOOD, Josh! Also, how would they even know to order Baked Alaska if it’s not on the menu? Anyway, Josh, just stick to food that poor, simple people like. And as we’ve learned from Hallmark, that is hot dogs or hamburgers. And dessert can either be chocolate or vanilla. There are NO OTHER OPTIONS.
Meanwhile, our leading lady Meg has lunch with her dad at “J. Northrup” which is a very fancy restaurant in New York City. Her dad wants her to work for him. He is obviously a real estate mogul. But Meg wants to build her own empire with…hosting cooking shows. No-event planning generally. She doesn’t want ANY help from her dad. This is going to be an event planning empire like no one has ever seen! Because no one has ever seen an event planning empire.
Julian arrives at Meg and her dad’s table. We can all assume that Julian is Josh’s TWIN brother. Julian is trying to earn Meg’s dad’s business-putting his restaurants in all his hotels- and is like, super patronizing to Meg in the process. Then, he talks to Josh on the phone and invites him to Malta for the cooking…ahem; culinary competition. They rehash a lot of their history in that conversation which is weird because Julian is right on the dining room floor for all that. Julian’s husband Henry stands by awkwardly.
Then everyone starts arriving in Malta. Josh runs in to Meg in the lobby. Classic “oh you must have met my twin” scenario. Guys, this has for real happened to me twice in my life. I have met a twin on one day and excitedly approach them the following day to say hello again, only to be met with confusion and dismay. And then they immediately say-oh, you must have met my twin. And I think they’re lying to avoid talking to me, but actually they were telling the truth. Anyway, Josh DOESN’T do that here for some reason and he just lets Meg keep talking to him like they’ve met before. Then Meg divulges that she stores her “extra chocolate” right at the top of her suitcase. QUIRKY. BUT SO IMPRACTICAL. That is the worst place to pack chocolate bars.
Meg comments to her coworker that “Julian” seems SO different from when she met him last week. I WONDER WHY.
Josh and Julian exchange an awkward hug. It’s awkward because they both have to hug a different actor and then it has to be filmed from two different angles. And then chitchat for a little bit.
Later, Meg gets in trouble with the stern hotel manager for decorating with too many flowers.
Josh comes back to Julian and Henry’s room wearing a wrinkly shirt which makes Julian furious. Julian goes to get a different shirt for Josh and like totally throws his back out. He is supposed to go register but he needs to lay down. Josh is like, hello! Duh. I’ll go register for you. Julian is worried. But Josh is like, we pretend to be each other all the time. What else is the point of being a twin? But downstairs, obviously Josh runs into people that know Julian, including a former culinary school classmate. Josh does a poor job of pretending to know him.
Then he runs in Meg again. She helps him get registered. Megan makes a joke about him being an evil twin. Then he gets a little wristband. So, uh oh. It is not a Disney magic band. It is a wrist band that cannot be taken off! And honestly, now after watching the whole movie, it makes zero sense why the wrist band couldn’t be taken off. You only need it to swipe into your cooking station to turn the power on. SO, like literally the only security reason for having this would be to PREVENT SOMEONE’S TWIN FROM COMPETING ON THEIR BEHALF. AND HOW WOULD THEY KNOW IF SOMEONE TOOK THE WRISTBAND OFF! Ugh he should have just said he’d put it on later or something. But here we are.
So anyway, the boys chat upstairs about this new wrinkle. Josh is like, I’ll just compete! Let me do it. And Julian is like, no you are not equipped for this. But obviously he relents after from prodding from Henry. And honestly, I have a lot of sympathy for Julian here because well, HE came here to compete! And now because of this ridiculous Disney magic band, he is stuck hiding in his hotel room.
So anyway, then Josh and Henry head down to the competition. Josh is having trouble pretending to be gay while standing next to his HUSBAND. So Josh has no chill. NO CHILL at all about Meg and her excruciatingly tight pony tail. It hurts my head to see it. Then Josh meets the other competitors. Uh oh. Julian’s former class mate wants to hear old stories from school. Henry steps up to help. Then Meg pulls Josh away to help with something. He didn’t tell Henry about her “secret chocolate stash” so he seems trustworthy. Oof. Honestly this makes no sense either. Why would she pull one of the competitors aside to help her with the event? Also, her hair and makeup are so…SEVERE. She tells him that she loves to plan events and wants to launch her own event planning company. Obviously. Then he realizes that her dad owns all those restaurants. But obviously he would know that since they met last week. OOPS.
They walk back to the rest of the gang and Josh runs into someone he DEFINITELY KNOWS. Chester is a party crasher. I am not sure why he’s there but the hotel manager is not happy about it. She makes Meg kick him out.
Later that night, Josh, Julian and Henry strategize and rehash. CHESTER shows up. And then he realizes that Julian and Josh are twins. They bring him in on the ruse. He is ALL IN to help.
They decide to practice at Chester’s restaurant since it’s basically in financial ruin. So now Julian is dressed like Josh. HILIARITY.
Later, Meg shows Josh how to use the wrist band on his work station. Literally its only purpose is to start the power. It would be impossible for anyone besides a twin to “cheat.” Like, obviously after the first day a different person couldn’t swipe into someone’s cooking station. This is pointless as a security measure.
OMG. Meg said this is the biggest event she’s planned since she WAS SIXTEEN. And it was her own grandparents’ anniversary. OMG. What has she been doing the last 15+ years? Anniversary party to…TELEVISED COOKING COMPETITION? And wouldn’t like, the Food Network or something be the one organizing this? Not some random event planner. Boy, this movie is unravelling more and more by the minute. They chat about Julian’s “brother.” So now he and Meg are really connecting. This makes me so uncomfortable because obviously if Julian was married to a woman, this would be getting weird.
So back at Chester’s we hear the rules of the contest and the stuff they plan to make. Later, Josh runs into Meg as she chases down a chocolate (?) cart? Apparently she’s plowed through all her “secret stash” and all the restaurants in town are closed. So he talks her into opening up the hotel restaurant or something? Anyway, that leads to them walking around town and chatting. Again, this dynamic would be weird for a married person. Is it not weird that he is spending his evening with Meg instead of his husband? Like I just feel like this relationship would be weird for actual Julian to have. But maybe it’s only weird because it’s actually Josh who is actually attracted to Meg. Oof. It’s difficult, honestly.
So Meg tells Josh how lucky he is to have Henry because he’s such a great guy. But has she ever even talked to Henry though? And then Meg shares that she used to have a boyfriend but he LIED to her and that is just her HILL. So, well, uh oh. Josh asks Meg what qualities she looks for in a guy. She loves “ambition.” Just blind ambition. That’s it. And then Henry and Julian walk down so Josh hugs her so she doesn’t notice.
The next day is finally competition time! Josh takes some light trash talk from Julian’s former classmate.
Henry notices that Josh likes Meg. Okay honestly the entire competition must notice at this point. GET IT TOGETHER JOSH. Then Meg’s dad calls her and wants her to drop everything and come help him with his stuff…IN GERMANY. And he has too many meetings to watch her broadcast. She wanders off so Josh runs after her to check on her. JOSH. He gives her some advice. But JOSH! YOUR WORKSTATION. Like honestly what are you doing right now?
So the competition is live. Not edited or anything. We are going to just watch them cook on television for as long as it takes. FUN. Julian and Chester watch from upstairs. So everyone is just cooking away and the cameras are filming. The judges are wandering around. It’s JUST like the Great British Baking Show. Except we don’t see all FIVE HOURS of baking time.
Later, Julian gives Josh some criticism about his performance that day. Josh DICED the vegetables instead of CHOPPING them. Josh is a little annoyed. But to be fair, he is supposed to be doing things the way JULIAN would do them because he’s supposed to be cooking like JULIAN. But Josh suddenly wants to prove himself and his way of doing things which is really not appropriate in this setting.
So later, Meg imposes by fixing his tie for him. She is wearing a great dress. He says he’s having family trouble with his brother. Josh, again, this is probably not something a married person would be sharing with the competition host. Oy. But it’s time to announce the next round of finalists. JULIAN makes it to the next round! Wow. What a surprise.
Ooof. Meg’s wearing those horrible pants again. Henry and Josh get coffee the next morning and run into Meg. Henry gives Josh a talking to about his relationship with Meg. YES. HENRY. EXACTLY. He is not acting like he’s married at all.
Oh no. The expensive truffles they are supposed to cook with haven’t even shipped! So Chester steps in to help. He’s got a guy.
Later, Josh and Meg walk and talk at a market? And Meg says her “favorite meal” is TAKEOUT. WHAT IN THE WORLD. Remember when they tried to pull that in a Christmas movie? One of the leads says New York has the best “takeout.” Do the good people at Hallmark know that’s not a type of food? Like literally any type of food can be “taken out” of the restaurant and eaten at home. Especially now. Thank goodness. Josh calls her out for this because that isn’t a meal or GENRE OF FOOD. And then she says she doesn’t care that much about food. Blegh. I don’t understand. But then she admits she likes cheeseburgers. Oof. OF COURSE. Because it would be so quirky for this fancy person to like something as basic as cheeseburgers. Look, I dare you to buy a $1 Hamburger at McDonalds and tell me it isn’t good. I don’t care how much money you make. Then they have a moment. I can’t imagine what Meg is thinking about all of this.
Later, poor Julian hobbles around town dressed like Josh. But why would that make any difference? His classmate runs into him. The classmate “knows” immediately that he’s not Julian based on how he’s dressed. Julian would NEVER.
Meanwhile, Josh says his favorite thing is baked Alaska. Meg helps him have a revelation about why he and his brother both like to cook. Then Chester finds them and gives them the mushrooms.
Later, Josh and Henry have a heart to heart. Henry is like, you can never tell Meg the truth. Even after the competition. Like FOR REAL. It would totally mess up everything for poor Julian! Then, Josh totally ignores Henry’s advice and asks Meg to get something to eat. Then helps her knead bread dough from behind her. WHY. No one would ever need to do that. If I was Meg I would be SO WEIRDED OUT at this point. So then Meg asks what his wedding was like. Then, well it must be at least three hours later if they’re starting from bread dough, they sit on a blanket outside and start eating the pizza (?) they made from scratch. Then Meg makes some suggestion about food and Josh absentmindedly suggests that she work with Julian at his restaurant. And immediately backtracks and feels bad. But Meg is all amped up about it.
So then the next morning, Meg comes by Julian’s hotel room to talk about their business strategy and obviously Julian has no idea what she’s talking about. Then like right away she runs into him down at the competition. Uh oh. The power is out at his station!! The classmate smirks. So okay. GUYS. If the work station could be sabotaged so easily, WHAT IS THE POINT OF THOSE WRISTBANDS!! It is not preventing cheating because they can’t even prove the classmate did anything.
So of course, MEG helps him find stuff in the hotel kitchen. Why would this be on her though? Wouldn’t the competition just set him up at a working station and provide all the same food? He wouldn’t be left to scramble. I mean, they gave Rahul 15 extra minutes after his glass bowl shattered in GBBO. Meg says she could eat bacon raw. MEG WHAT. No. That’s weird. You’re just going to eat raw bacon like a cave man? Is this supposed to make her more down to earth? Has anyone at Hallmark ever eaten or seen bacon?
Then of course, Josh takes WAGYU beef and makes a cheeseburger out of it. Oy. I mean, I’m sure it’s good. I would eat it. But I feel like that is maybe a waste of that kind of beef. No matter, Julian/Josh makes it to the next round.
Then Meg’s dad shows up. Maybe to support her. Meanwhile Julian is gesturing at Josh wildly from the bushes at the evening’s party. They have a heated discussion. Julian wants to take over. OBVIOUSLY. But No! The classmate seems to overhear THE WHOLE THING. IDIOT JULIAN. Why couldn’t that wait until they were up in their hotel room? So stupid.
So then the classmate approaches Meg to tattle. He tells her that Julian is not who he says he is. Meg is like, dude, you cut the power at Julian’s work station. So she doesn’t want to hear it. FAIR.
At Chester’s, Julian insists on doing the final competition traditionally. Josh wants to be a little bolder.
Meanwhile, Meg and her dad have a heated conversation. He has to go to Germany that night. No one understands how time works apparently. But regardless, he is going to miss the whole competition. They have more of a heated nonsense discussion. Who cares. Oh but she does learn Julian’s restaurant is going under.
The classmate is not giving up on tattling. Josh of course, runs into Meg. They share their troubles with each other. Then Meg says it’s really nice to trust someone. OH NO.
And then, well the jig is up with Julian. The hotel manager shows up at his hotel room. But honestly, why couldn’t he say he was Josh? Like how could they prove that one was the other at this point? Isn’t that the genius of the twin swap? Especially if they are identical, though I don’t think they are since one of them said he was taller. But regardless, like prove it Food Competition! That’s what I’d say. But they give up on the ruse basically immediately.
So then Meg gets a phone call and they all have to meet in the competition area. So the classmate agrees not to say anything if Josh and Julian are expelled from the competition. Oy. I don’t understand why Julian couldn’t just say, no I’m Josh. And then Meg is mad about the lies also. Understandably. But Josh should say-If you hadn’t been so eager to get the GD magic band on my wrist before I realized what was happening, we wouldn’t be in this mess!
Then Josh and Julian have a heart to heart while they pack up. It’s nice. Also, weird since it’s just Jeremy Jordan talking to himself. So then Julian tells Josh he needs to fix things with Meg. BUT HOW.
Meg is just sitting on a bench. So they chat and Meg is like, well you can still compete actually. You just signed the contract “J Northrup” so you can actually still compete. And now Julian gets to be the sous chef. But Meg says “there is no us” to Josh. So I guess that’s that.
So now they’re making their stuff. The Northrup boys present their little dessert. BAKED ALASKA obviously.
Okay now it’s time to announce the winner. Josh wins. Wow. I am just…so shocked. I did not see that coming at all. And the trophy actually has his name on it so that’s nice. But seriously, what a bummer just across the board for Julian. Josh catches up with Meg after the competition. So now he gives her a little speech. She doesn’t know if she can ever forgive him. He asks her for two months. Because of that thing you know-if you’re still mad in two months, you’ll probably always be mad? That adds up. And then Meg’s dad calls and says he’s proud of her.
Later, (TWO MONTHS LATER) Josh and Julian are at J Northrup’s getting ready for dinner. They are running the restaurant together. No word yet from ol Meg. Oh! What a surprise. Meg walks in. They must be opening a new restaurant I guess. She is also “building her own empire.” Whatever that means for event planning. Josh shows her a menu and he named the cheeseburger after her. That’s sweet. SPOILER ALERT. She forgives him. And they kiss. Henry and Julian creep from the kitchen. Julian is like, we need to open now. But they just keep making out. And that’s that.
This movie was silly and it didn’t have any Valentine feels. It did have Mediterranean feels which I liked. It also had pretty high stakes for a Hallmark movie. I was not sure how they would reconcile the deception at the end. I am not a huge fan of the lead actress but overall, I enjoyed watching the movie. I liked the concept and it had plenty of wild, silly Hallmark things.