A Very Merry Toy Store (2017 Lifetime)

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A Very Merry Toy Store

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Stars: Melissa Joan Hart & Mario Lopez

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Connie Forrester (Melissa Joan Hart, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), a young single mom, and Will DiNova (Mario Lopez, Holiday in Handcuffs) each run their small, family-owned toy stores in Connecticut. Similar to their families, Connie and Will have been business rivals for year, until both of their livelihoods fall into jeopardy when the big box toy store “Roy’s Toys” has its grand opening right before Christmas. In order to save their businesses, Connie and Will band together to save the stores that have defined their families for generations, and in the process, might just find love in time for Christmas. The film also stars Beth Broderick, Brian Dennehy, Billy Gardell, Mario Cantone, Dan Amboyer and Tara Strong. A Very Merry Toy Store is produced by Hartbreak Films. Paula Hart and Melissa Joan Hart executive produce. Paula serves as a director; David Breckman serves as a writer.

Thoughts

Connie (Melissa Joan Hart) and Will (Mario Lopez) are rival toy store owners! Forester Toys and DiNova’s  toys are small business right next to each other that have somehow stayed in business in 2017. They have all the toys! My Little Ponies, Pie Face, and the most coveted toy of the season  Priciness Alicia. (Coming to both stores December 12th.) Both toy store owners are very good at their jobs and customize gifts to their customers. They also don’t talk shit on one another to their customers despite the fact that they hate each other.

Connie lives with her brother Randy, her son TJ, and her Mom (Auth Zelda from Sabrina and the Teenage Witch). Will is a divorced man who is looking to buy back his child home back before Christmas.

When Roy’s Toy Store announces a grand opening. (Where the old Tower Records was… because this is 2005?) Connie and Will go to their relator friend (Mario Cantone) and ask him all the questions an audience might ask and make some Tower Records jokes… but why?!?!

At the town diner, the two come together and agree that they are in trouble and need to create an alliance to take down the big new toy store. Will wants to pool their resources to buy time for the board to shut down the big box store, which is legally not supposed to be in New Britain, New England. Connie needs time to think it over, but after loosing her Dad and her husband, she can’t bare to loose her business too.

First strategic move? A fucking pancake breakfast! It appears to work, even Roy Barns shows up with his assistant wearing a Ushanka. (So we KNOW they are evil.) Roy looks around both shops and acts like he is all chummy with them, but he works a deal with the delivery driver to have their Priciness Alicia dolls delivered to his store instead.

Connie and Will will be sunk without those dolls, so they call the delivery driver and pretend to be country accent people and have the Priciness Alicia dolls re routed to them. Working together brings them together, and they even had a good time while doing it. Turns out it was all for nothing because Roy booked a pop superstar to sing at his store and no one comes for the Priciness Alicia dolls.

At the town bobsled race, where they send the town children down a steep mountain in cardboard boxes. The toy-store both sponsor a cart in the race, like NASCAR! In a very VERY fake (and I think intentionally ridiculous ) race. The loosing car even shouts “Noooooooooo!” as his bobsled made of cardboard crashes into  snow bank.

Later at the Christmas town festival, Connie and Will bond over the holiday tradition and event open up with each other. Connie admits she has struggled with opening up herself to anyone since her husband died. After a long stroll, the two stop by the Christmas Tree and kiss. (And it isn’t the end of the movie, yet!)

While cuddling on the couch, Roy’s Toys commercial pop promoting an 80% OFF deal, this will surely sink the local toy stores. Not accepting defeat, Connie breaks into Roy’s headquarters and scolds him. Roy offers her the manager position at his store and to pay off her store debt. Connie declines the offer. When the same offer is given to Will, he accepts because he has to pay for his house. Connie is heartbroken.

The town council rules in favor of keeping Roys, but when Connie’s brother realizes that he saw Roy making a deal with one of the council members taking a bribe. Seeing the error of his ways Will tells Roy he is a “Two faced Liar” and “I’ll guess I stick to working with Humans from now!” You tell him Mario!!!

After very quickly wrapping up the b-story lines, Connie’s Mom ends up with her adult piano student. Connies brother ends up with the diner girl. Then finally Connie and Will end up together decorating their home together and reviewing security footage to take down Roy. High fives and hugs all around.

Then end with a wedding and a heart fade out, a la Loony Tunes.

Side Note

Holiday In Handcuffs came out 10 years ago! This re-teaming of Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart was one that makes sense!

Not one, but TWO mentions of the Cubs winning the world series, this movie was VERY topical.

Lifetime holiday movies are like if Hallmark handed one of its scripts to a comedy writer and told them to “Punch it up”. LOTS of jokes, most were lame.

You can absolutely feel the budgetary restrictions of a Lifetime Christmas Movie.

Overall rating

🎄 🎄 🎄(3 Christmas Trees)

🍷🍷🍷(3 glasses of wine required)

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