Lucy (Bethany Joy Lenz) and the rest of her siblings are surprised to arrive home for the holidays and find that dad Walter (Robert Wisden) has turned their family home into a bed and breakfast. It’s newly opened and floundering a bit, so when they hear a renowned travel writer is in town, they know a review from her could make or break dad’s business. When she checks in under pseudonym Beth (Laura Soltis), Lucy’s siblings pitch in to either pose as staff or as guests to make the bed and breakfast seem more successful than it is. The only legitimate guest is a guy named Jake (Victor Webster). Sparks fly between Lucy and Jake (well, this being Hallmark, sparks is probably pushing it – picture something a little more akin to a 10 second burst in the microwave, warm but definitely not hot – but the trouble is, her whole family has had to keep up the ruse of being unrelated staff and guests, so their relationship, fledgling as it may be, has started out with a lie, and a pretty big one.
This movie is a little zanier than most Hallmark romances, mostly because the family members are all in character, and apparently some of them have a flair for the dramatic. Except grandpa Walter (Jay Brazeau) who has a flair for the dementia, and there’s no telling what’ll pop out of his mouth at any given moment.
Can a relationship survive a lie about one’s identity? Can a bed and breakfast review survive a brush with grandpa Walt? Do bed and breakfast guests really want to spend as much time together as owners think they do? And how would you feel if your parents secretly turned your childhood bedroom into a rental unit?
Hallmark has one formula for finding love and happiness at Christmas, but there are many variations on the theme of how to get there, and this one has be wanting to pose as my own wacky hotel guest. If you do your own Five Star Christmas cosplay, may I suggest you stay away from accents – those are always harder than you think.