Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Movie Review: A Darrow Mystery - Witness to Murder

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun to see the characters
Cons: Mystery weak; Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Joanna’s old firm
Comes back, and leads to murder
In fun but weak film

Joanna’s Past Returns

Eventually, the past always comes back to haunt you.  Oh, that isn’t always true in real life, but it certainly is always true in fiction.  And it’s Joanna’s past that comes to the forefront in Witness to Murder, the newest Darrow Mystery (formerly Darrow and Darrow) from Hallmark.

Back in the first movie, Joanna (Wendie Malick) had moved in with her daughter Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and granddaughter Lou (Lilah Fitzgerald) when she was fired from her job as a corporate lawyer at a prestigious New York law firm and accused of insider trading.  In the time since she’s moved in, she’s gotten to enjoy life with Claire and Lou and working at the small law firm that Claire runs.

However, Joanna’s past walks back into her life in the form of Cassie, the very woman whose accusations got Joanna fired.  Now, the same thing has happened to Cassie but there are criminal charges pending, and she knows she is innocent.  She wants to get Claire and Joanna to represent her and clear her name.  Joanna is reluctant until she is pressured to drop the case.  Then a murder happens with Cassie as the prime suspect.  What is going on?

While I haven’t mentioned him, yes, Miles (Tom Cavanagh) is involved.  This franchise really is part legal mystery and part romantic comedy.  In fact, the romance between Miles and Claire is very strong in this movie and provided some good laughs.

Which is nice since the mystery was a little weak.  While I didn’t have all the details worked out, I had the major plot points figured out early on.  Still, I enjoyed watching to get those details figured out and see how the characters would figure things out.  The ending was rushed, leaving us to assume that some things are wrapped up but never explicitly saying how they turned out.

Likewise, a sub-plot involving Lou running for class president is fairly predictable but fun.

Then there are the courtroom scenes.  I’m not a lawyer, but they still seemed pretty unrealistic to me.  However, I enjoyed watching how things played out, so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

Fun really is the important word for this movie.  I was enjoying watching it, so I’m not completely upset about the plot being familiar.  However, it is a mystery, so a surprise along the way would have been nice.

Being a Hallmark movie, you have to expect a dose of cheese in the writing and acting.  It’s not too bad, but it is definitely there.

While not the strongest mystery movie from Hallmark, Witness to Murder is still fun.  If you are a fan of this franchise or the actors, you’ll be glad you watched it.

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