Friday, October 27, 2017

Movie Review: Darrow & Darrow

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters; lots of fun
Cons: Sub-plots over shadow mystery; data dumps
The Bottom Line:
A grand theft court case
Is our chance to meet this cast
Fun franchise starts here

“I Guess You Can Call Us the Isle of the Misfit Attorneys.”

When Hallmark Movies and Mysteries started advertising Darrow & Darrow, the first in a new mystery franchise, I immediately knew I’d be turning in.  I really knew nothing about it other than the stars and the fact that it involved lawyers, so we’d get some courtroom drama.  The result was a lot of fun, not that I expected anything less.

Claire Darrow (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is living in her childhood home and running the law firm founded by her late father.  Despite having several employees, the firm isn’t doing well.  It’s not that she doesn’t win cases; in fact, she wins enough to have caught the eye of the assistant district attorney, Miles (Tom Cavanagh).  However, she takes on cases that don’t turn out to be that profitable.  Her mother, Joanna (Wendie Malick), has recently returned to town after a scandal cost her a job in New York.  Joanna has all kinds of ways to fix the firm and improve Claire’s life, advice Claire isn’t necessarily interested in hearing.

And soon Claire has a new case.  Dave (Kirby Morrow), the owner of the local donut shop is accused of robbing the neighborhood jewel store, an accusation that, given his background, isn’t completely out of the picture.  Dave insists he is innocent and Claire believes him.  It’s another case that won’t earn her a lot of money, but Claire believes taking on the case is the right things to do even if it pits her against Miles in court.  But the police have a good case.  Can Claire find a way to get Dave off?  Is he really innocent?

Yes, we really do have a mystery case involving grand theft instead of murder, something I truly enjoyed.  With Dave’s freedom on the line, I felt the stakes were significantly high to make for a compelling mystery.  In fact, it was nice to take a break from murder.  The mystery could have been stronger over all, but I did love the ending.

I wasn’t surprised when, near the end, they teased us the next Darrow & Darrow movie, coming in 2018.  This had the feelings of a TV pilot, complete with data dumps and a sub-plot or two that was more about setting up character relationships for future movies.  In fact, at times they greatly overshadowed the mystery.  That is my biggest complaint with the story.

Having said that, I enjoyed these plots.  Claire and Miles spend some time flirting, and watching them do that is a blast.  While they do attempt to round out Joanna, she comes across too strong, and I can understand Claire’s issues with her.  I’m hoping this gets toned down in future movies as they work out their relationship.  Claire is a single mother, and the potential stories with Louise (Lilah Fitzgerald) are interesting.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with her in future movies.

The Hallmark cheese was turned down for this movie.  I felt the cast did well.  There are a lot of characters, so I suspect it will be a few movies before I have them all straight.  My biggest issue with the writing was the data dumps.  We need the information, but it was a little too obvious that we were being fed the information.

Issues aside, Darrow & Darrow launches another promising movie franchise from Hallmark.  I’ll be tuning back in for their next case.

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