Joy is a shy and fairly unpopular high school student who hates Christmas ever since her mom died. She watches the perfect family next door through her window and wishes she could be more like them. But then she gets hit by a car and gets her Christmas wish, sorta. She wakes up skinny, and with highlights. She’s friends with her popular next door neighbour and she’s dating the high school hottie.
Old Dorky Joy is trapped inside the body of new and improved Cute Joy, and Dorky Joy marvels at her luck. Varsity volleyball! Shopping pals! Bigger boobs! But Cute Joy doesn’t play the clarinet. And Cute Joy is the daughter of the perfect family next door. Dream come true! She has a mom again – not her mom, granted – but a mom who cooks and cleans takes care of the kids. Joy’s been filling in that role for so long in her own home she’s forgotten what it feels like to have someone take care of her.
But of course, Joy is about to learn that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Sometimes grass that looks green is actually astroturf. The perfect family next door is actually pretty jerky, and her own family really nosedives without her. It’s life-swappy although not quite in the conventional different body way. It hits really hard at themes of being grateful for what you have and not comparing yourself to others – of course, our young hero has to learn this the hard way. They very hard way. But from the moment of her car accident-induced transformation, we know how this will go, and we aren’t overly invested in it either way.
This is not a good movie but if you’re counting down to Christmas with a movie a day, this certainly fills a date on the calendar. And if you like something mindlessly festive on in the background while you wrap or bake cookies, this is awfully mindless. So: not a complete waste of time?