Krys tells her mom Barbara (Elizabeth Mitchell — another actress familiar with time travel, from LOST) that Kristin is an NYU adviser named Kay who needs to stay with them because there’s a blizzard on the east coast. Barbara just goes along with it, despite the fact that Kay is a weirdo who looks like an older version of her daughter. (She doesn’t really, but in the context of this movie she should be recognizable. I mean, the difference appearance-wise between 17 and 34 isn’t that huge.)
We soon meet the rest of the movie’s crazy characters, like Aunt Debby (played by A.J. Langer, aka Rayanne Graff from My So-Called Life, what what!), who’s your typical wacky aunt who likes to stay home in her PJs and read magazines all day (adopt me). Then there’s Kristin’s dad, played by a bearded Judd Nelson sans Molly Ringwald’s diamond stud. He doesn’t do much, like most Lifetime fathers. Then there’s Krys’ bad boy boyfriend Maverick (yes, Maverick), and the adorable teenage version of Jamie.
Kristin soon realizes that this is the Christmas she decided to never come home again after college, so she sets out to change things. That means convincing her teenage self that she’s dating a douchebag (a word which apparently wasn’t being used in that context in 1996, which means people then were really missing out). The only problem is that teenagers are the absolute worst. Even after Kristin and Jamie hack into Maverick’s AOL account (the dial-up jokes were the best part of the movie) to get his other girlfriend to show up and show Krys that he’s cheating, she manages to blame it all on her mom, who doesn’t want Krys going to NYU just because Maverick will be there, but also because Aunt Debby has breast cancer. I guess the movie’s sad meter wasn’t high enough. Barbara gets in the best line of the movie when she says about teenagers, “We all understand you. We’re just tired of listening to it.” Amen, sister friend.
So Kristin fails at teaching her former self a lesson, but she does manage to change her future a little bit. During a highly inappropriate conversation with young Jamie, she learns all about his feelings for her and disappoints him by letting him know they’re not together in the future. He tells her he’ll wait for her as long as it takes and gives her a mix tape that plays the same song her phone played at the beginning. She also finds the magical champagne under the tree and gets herself back to present day. Because her older self has been Marty McFly-ed out of the family Christmas photo, she assumes it was all a dream but decides it’s time to finally go home.
That’s where she runs into present-day Jamie outside her house. Turns out it wasn’t a dream, and he’s spent the past seventeen years patiently waiting for her to time travel to the past so his younger self could tell her how he feels. Wait… what? Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to just tell her himself some time during the intervening years? And did he really go out of his way to date a girl named Sophia just because that’s what Kristin told him he’d do? And then he dumped her? What is happening? Why is time travel still so confusing, even in Lifetime movies?
Obviously Barbara (who hasn’t aged a day, just like Lindsay Lohan in Liz & Dick – still not over it) welcomes Jamie home with open arms, but we don’t find out what happened to Aunt Debby. Is Aunt Debby okay? I need Aunt Debby to be okay.