Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Another intriguing mystery
Cons: Usual Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Cellar hides body
Sets Jenn on trail of killer
“When Did Family Dinner Become Murder 101?”
Who would have ever thought that bargain hunting could be so deadly? Guilty Until Proven Innocent is now the fifth Garage Sale Mystery starring Lori Loughlin as garage sale expert Jennifer Shannon, and it’s a fun movie.
Jennifer, along with her best friend Dani (Sarah Strange), owns Rags to Riches, where they sell what they find at yard sales to make money. At least hopefully make some money. Right now, the shop has been struggling financially, but they just need a couple of high value items to turn things around.
Those items could come from Jennifer’s college friend Sandra (Kirsten Robek) who shows up offering the inventory of her store located about twenty minutes away. Sandra is moving out of the area to live with her current fiancée and doesn’t want to take things with her, so she is willing to take a percentage of anything they sell as her payment. That includes the items in the barn on her farm, but while Jennifer is exploring, she discovers the body of Sandra’s former fiancée Michael in a hidden cellar. Michael vanished two years ago, only leaving behind a note that he had found someone else. Now the police are looking into the murder and are certain that Sandra is the killer. Can Jennifer find the truth and free her friend?
Unlike many of the books I read, Jennifer is a married woman with two kids. And now, with the fifth movie in the series, recasting for the supporting members of the Shannon family is now complete. After being written out of the previous movie, her teenage son Logan is back, but this time played by Connor Stanhope. While the new actor did a fine job, I missed the old actor and the chemistry he had with Lori as her son. Then again, it might have helped if Logan and Jennifer had more scenes together; Logan did have a sub-plot but he was mostly on his own for it. Fortunately, Steve Bacic as husband Jason and Eva Bourne as older daughter Hannah are back, although there is no mention of Hannah’s love life at all, which was a pretty major sub-plot in the previous movie.
Of course, the acting overall continues to be good but not great. There is that certain level of cheese in the writing that spills over into the acting in these movies, but I’m okay with that. Know what you are getting into before you sit down, and you’ll be fine.
The mystery itself is intriguing. I did figure out where things were going a little early, but watching how Jennifer actually pieced my hunch together with solid evidence was still entertaining. We get two sub-plots as well, one involving a job offer for Dani and the one I mentioned earlier involving Logan and two of his friends. Both left me cheering for the outcome, although I’m not completely sure I approve of some of Logan’s actions along the way.
Overall, Guilty Until Proven Innocent proves to be another entertaining mystery. It’s light, but it’s fun, and if that’s what you are looking for, you will be richly rewarded.