Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Movie Review: Murder She Baked - Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun and fairly faithful take on a great book
Cons: A bit too enthusiastic in the acting
The Bottom Line:
A delicious book
Turns into light, fun movie
That fans should enjoy

Fun Film Version of a Delicious Mystery

I am always intrigued when a series I love is turned into a movie, so I knew I’d have to watch Murder She Baked: Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery as soon as I heard about it.  After all, I’ve been reading Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series since that book, the first in the series, came out.  As I expected, they definitely made some changes to the book and characters, but I really did enjoy it.

Hannah Swensen (Alison Sweeney) lives in Eden Lake, Minnesota, where she runs The Cookie Jar, a popular cookie shop.  The worst thing she faces is her mother Delores’s (Barbara Niven) attempts to set her up.  The latest is the new dentist in town, Norman (Gabriel Hogan).

However, one day Ron LaSalle (Jason Cremak), the deliveryman from the local dairy, is late with the order for The Cookie Jar.  When Hannah goes out back, she finds Ron shot next to some of her Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies.  Despite warnings from Mike (Cameron Mathison), a state detective brought in to work the case, Hannah starts poking her nose into the mystery.  Will she figure out what happened?

Despite the fact that I first read the book back in 2001, I actually remember the plot fairly well (my reread in 2006 might help with that), and I’m happy to say the movie stuck close to it.  I’m sure there were details and suspects they cut out for time, but it unfolded pretty much as I remembered it.  That’s impressive since they played up the new romances that begin between Hannah and both Mike and Norman here.

Of course, in almost any movie, the details are going to be changed.  I can sit here and start listing them for you.  Hannah lives in a house instead of a condo.  Lisa, Hannah’s employee later partner at the bakery played by Juliana Wimbles, is too old for the character in the series.  And on and on.

But you know what?  It really didn’t care.  Every time a new character from the series popped up, I smiled.  I was just having too much fun seeing these characters I love brought to life.  And there were plenty of great nods to the series in the movie.  I loved that all the desserts and cookies mentioned have been made it in the series.  While the actual recipes are missing (obviously), we even heard the secret ingredient in the title cookies.

The characters were a tad off from how I picture their personalities, but I think that was a result of the acting.  Everyone just seemed a tad over enthusiastic.  It was the style they were going for, and as I got in to the movie, it didn’t bother me nearly as much.

No, this isn’t a great movie, but it is fun.  If you are a fan of Hannah, you’ll enjoy it.  And if you are looking for a light, fun mystery, then Murder She Baked: Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery will fill that need and leave you craving the books.

Interested in reading the book that inspired this movie?  Here's my review of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.


  1. I have this recorded but haven't watched it yet. I've only read one of Joanne Fluke's books but I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to settling down and watching this movie!

    1. It's light but fun, which is pretty much the books, so it's a good take on the franchise.

  2. Nice review, I’m obviously very late to this party! We’re watching on YouTube in the UK.... I didn’t know you could buy films officially, which is great, as we don’t have a Hallmark Channel here, and watching things on YouTube, oh dear... anyway, I don’t know the books but really enjoyed this. Mind, I found all the finger licking and dog feeding in a cafe most distracting. And that cheap artificial cream, yuk!