Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Movie Review: A Killer Engagement - A Matchmaking Mystery

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery
Cons: Hallmark cheese, chemistry between leads
The Bottom Line:
Engagement party
Ends in a tragic murder
Starts new, fun franchise

“Police Work is Serious.”  “And Matchmaking Isn’t?”

When Hallmark announced that this fall they’d be introducing the Matchmaker Mysteries, I was excited.  No, not because of the subject matter or because of the main star.  I’m a fan of one of the supporting stars, so I was happy to get to see more of him.  Fortunately, A Killer Engagement lived up to my expectations.

Angie Dove (Danica McKellar) has always had a knack for finding the perfect match for people, and she’s turned it into a career with the launch of a local TV show in her hometown of Philadelphia.  As the movie opens, she’s getting ready to film an update on one of the couples she’s set up on her show, and it’s a great one.  Aaron (Randy Thomas) is getting ready to propose to Emma (Helena Marie) on the show.  Naturally, she says yes, and the happy couple invite Angie to attend the engagement party they are going to throw that Sunday.

However, the party doesn’t turn out to be a happy occasion.  When Angie arrives, she discovers that Aaron is nowhere to be found and Emma seems distracted.  She mentions wanting to ask Angie for advice, but then is pulled away.  A few minutes later Emma is dead.  Detective Kyle Cooper (Victor Webster) is assigned to the case, and he quickly begins to look at Aaron, who seems to have vanished, as his prime suspect.  Angie is certain that her client is innocent, but can she prove it?

The cast member I mentioned earlier?  Actually, that’s Bruce Boxleitner, who plays Angie father, Nick Columba, a retired homicide detective who just happens to have been Kyle’s training officer.  These relationships prove to be fodder for some fun along the way to the end.

The mystery is good.  There are several motives, or potential motives, spread out over the cast of suspects, and it was interesting seeing how Angie and Kyle figured out what was really going on.  I was actually impressed with how Angie figured it all out in the end; the solution was perfectly logical given everything we knew.

I did feel the supporting characters could have used a little more development.  We meet a few people who work on Angie’s show, but I’d like to know exactly what it is they do.  Or maybe it was mentioned briefly in passing and I missed it.  Either way, this is a minor complaint, and something I’m sure will be expanded on in future movies.

Which brings us to our three leads.  Ironically, for a matchmaker, Angie appears to have a rough love life herself, and her father’s is no better.  I’ll be interested to see if they explore this a bit more in future movies.  Normally, I feel the chemistry between the leads in these Hallmark Mystery Movies, but in this case, I found it a bit lacking between Angie and Kyle.  Again, the irony.  But I’m willing to be proved wrong as the franchise continues.

Overall, I found the acting fine from the entire cast.  The movie has the standard Hallmark cheese warning from the writing and the acting, but it’s a pretty average dose, not something that is going to be an issue if you know to expect it going in.

While there has been no official announcement about more movies starring these characters, I’d be surprised if we don’t get to revisit them again next year.  Based on how much I enjoyed A Killer Engagement, I will be looking forward to our return visit.

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