Thursday, September 02, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Merry & Bright (2019)

It's September, and that means I'm more than ready for college football and Hallmark Channel Christmas movies!

Christmas may still be a few months away, but there's something about this turn of the season, as summer draws to a close, which says it's time to start thinking about Christmas. Many Hallmark viewers must feel the same way, as the channel will once again start airing its annual slate of Christmas movies next month.

MERRY & BRIGHT (2019), which first aired two years ago, stars Andrew Walker (SNOWED-INN CHRISTMAS) and Jodie Sweetin. Sweetin, like longtime Hallmark stars Candace Cameron Bure and Lori Loughlin, spent several years on the TV sitcom FULL HOUSE (1987-95).

Walker and Sweetin have wonderful chemistry in a simple yet charming tale of Cate (Sweetin), a candy cane company CEO, who gets to know Gabe (Walker) when he's assigned to her candy cane company as a business recovery consultant. Cate, a business major, has recently inherited the family business; she loves it but needs to turn things around if she's going to stay in business long term.

It's an easygoing yet engrossing film centered around Cate and Gabe getting to know one another as Cate struggles with decisions regarding her company's future. This was my first time to see Sweetin in a Hallmark film, and I found her very appealing, both confident and quite likeable. Walker shows again why he's one of Hallmark's best leading men, combining sensitivity with nice light comedic timing.

A cute subplot involves Cate's mother (Sharon Lawrence, NYPD BLUE) getting a rescue dog to surprise Cate for Christmas, only to fall in love with the dog herself and not want to give him up.

Stephanie Moroz plays Cate's assistant, with Darren Martens as her beau. Gabe's recovery consultant company CEO mother is played by Nancy Sorel; Paul Essiembre plays an investor who might have interest in Cate's Merry & Bright Candy Cane company.

Gary Yates directed, with cinematography by Paul Suderman. This 84-minute movie was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

MERRY & BRIGHT is available on DVD. As I write it's selling for under $7 from Amazon; I immediately bought a copy, as this is one I'll want to rewatch in future years. It left me with a smile on my face, and you can't ask for more than that from a Christmas movie!


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