Day 3 - A Very Merry Toy Store
A Very Merry Toys Store (2017) - Lifetime
So 25 in 25 isn’t looking so good right now as I have already missed four days… maybe five… I don’t know, but not because of a lack of dedication, just life getting in the way keeping me from the task at hand. Nonetheless we hope to get back in the groove with today’s Christmas tale, ‘A Very Merry Toy Store’ which is kind of a terrible title for any movie, since the toys stores in question aren't very merry and are all but insolvent... but fortunately the movie was kind of terrible to match.
In some tiny Northeastern town, near Boston I guess because Brian Dennehey was wearing a cap with the Old English ‘B’ on it, Connie (Melissa Joan Hart) runs Forrester Toys. A few doors down Will runs DiNova toys. Think of these two as the Capulet and Montague of tiny toy stores, and as a result, they hate each other. Which leads me right into a problem I have with this movie, for as you look at the cover art, it shows these two clearly making out. Spoiler Much? I know… I know… we all know they are going to hook up as they do in every Hallmark / Lifetime Christmas movie ever made, but this could’ve been the one when they didn’t hook up. You never know! But of course we DO know because they totally spoiled it for us. Damn.
Anyway, this realities version of Toys R Us is moving in a few blocks away, run by the scurrilous Roy (Billy Gardell), and now Connie and Will decide to form a tenuous alliance and merge their two struggling toy stores into one struggling toy store to do battle against Roy the Evil Toy Seller.
What these two didn’t plan on… was love. Unless they saw they cover art of their movie, then they knew already. But love… of course… will be lost. Because Roy, after totally decimating these two with his savvy marketing and bribery techniques, offers Connie a job which she throws back in his face. Will however takes it when the offer comes his way. If only because this was the best way the writers could think of to temporarily split these two apart. And to be honest with you, even though we know Roy’s store will eventually lose and be drummed out of town, I’m thinking his store is WAY better for the economy of this joint that these other two tiny stores, which will both probably be belly up by the middle of next year. You know it’s true. Oh, and as a side story Brian Dennehey is creepily staking a claim on Connie’s mom (Beth Broderick), and some older chick (Tara Strong) is seriously stalking Connie’s mentally challenged brother (Dan Ambroyer) into falling in love with her. He’s not officially mentally challenged, but that’s way the character seemed to us.
Ten years ago, Melissa Joan and Mario made the seminal Christmas movie classic ‘Holiday in Handcuffs’. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so seminal nor classic but that movie, with its concept of kidnapping somebody, forcing them to be your boyfriend and then Stockholming them into falling in love with you had some wacky magic working for it. Unfortunately, A Very Merry Toy Store can’t hold the jockstrap of Holiday in Handcuffs.
No, what we have here with a Very Merry Toy Store is a run of the mill, rudimentary Lifetime romance that amazingly even finds a way to suppress the Christmas elements, while at the same time forcing them in, despite the fact the movie takes place largely in toy stores around Christmas.
For instance, no one shops for a Christmas Tree in this movie. That’s like Christmas movie 101, however, the decision by city board to pass judgement on Roy takes place on new year’s eve, when we know full well City Government shut down weeks ago. At least they do where I’m from. We had a cute kid, though he was kind of old, plus he didn’t do anything particularly cute or adorable in this movie. We had old people, but the old people seemed way more interested in getting their swerve on as opposed to dispensing sage advice to their somewhat younger cast members. And we say ‘somewhat’ because Melissa Joan and Mario were kind of old in Holiday and Handcuffs, and that was ten years ago.
Lacking important Christmas trimmings removes critical vomits, being as how the main thing we have is to hang our Christmas hats on is lots of the color red, cold weather and the occasional Christmas song, but the movie does have a solid, veteran cast which helps. I should mention that Billy Gardell seemed to be mailing in his performance as Roy the not really evil Toy Store Owner, but Billy Gardell mailing it in still kind of kicks ass.
But if you like Melissa Joan and Mario, then you’ll probably like this.