In Merry Measure

Right in Tune

The previews of this one were funny and charming and I was so glad the movie lived up to them. I really liked the glimpses of the lead actress, whom I didn’t recognize. It turns out that Patty Murin has been in a few Hallmarks before, but usually plays the not-as-glamorous best friend role. She was adorable in this and her comic timing was tops.  It also starred Brendan Penny, a Hallmark go-to guy, whom I like, as the love interest. They had a great rapport and bounced off of each other naturally with their acting of the often fast-paced dialogue.

Darcy is a former pop star whose popularity has faded and now sings in small intimate venues. When she loses her agent, she goes home to Dayton Ohio for Christmas and ends up coaching a high-school singing team with her high-school rival, Adam (Brendan Perry). How this all comes to be is a very good story. Her widowed sister’s daughter tries out for an opening on the championship choral team and totally blows it because of her lack of confidence. In fact, the coach didn’t even let her finish the audition! Really mean and insensitive. This pisses Darcy off so much, that she gets all of the rejects together to form a competing team. They start out to be awful (and hilarious), but Darcy’s coaching style gives them confidence, and they quickly are just as good as their rivals, if not better. The #1 team recognizes their talent and the kids propose to the two bickering antagonistic coaches that they join forces and form a new group to compete in the county(?) competition. The two frenemies are now co-coaches.

Brendan Penny plays an interesting character. At first, he really is quite an arrogant jerk. He is also whiny and self-pitying. And then he has a dorky nerdy thing going on as well. Not exactly leading man material, but the banter and snarkiness between the two coaches is witty and funny. Thankfully, he learns from Darcy’s more positive and affirming approach with the kids. When he admits his harsh and insensitive methods with the kids were wrong and apologizes, things warm up considerably between the two. They become friends, but it’s not until he shows up at Darcy’s doorstep without his nerdy glasses and a bit of a makeover, that Darcy starts to fall for him. It’s a cliche, but it’s one I love.

After a lot of work, and many disappointments, Darcy finally gets a chance at a contract with a big record label. Predictably, she has to choose between meeting the bigwigs and being with the team on their big night. I’m not sure what old Hallmark would have done, but with new Hallmark, she goes to New York with the blessings of everyone to meet the VIPs without a second thought. She gets the contract, but instead of schmoozing the night away, which the powerbrokers want her to do, she risks offending them and tells them she has to go back to Dayton to be with her team. Good for her, and they respected her for it.

Besides the excellent acting, funny dialogue, and good message, this movie featured a really great Christmas song selection and some equally great singing. There was actually an original song, written by our songwriter heroine that was actually really good! I’m glad Hallmark has moved away from trying to pretend Christmas is not a Christian Holiday and embraced a few Christmas Carols that are actually about the birth of Jesus. Last year, a movie “la-la-la-ed their way through Joy to the World to avoid singing the words. That was a low point. It all ended with a series of flashback scenes from the movie we just watched. I guess they needed some filler, but it was creative and something different.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “In Merry Measure

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