Two rival toy shop owners reluctantly join forces when an unscrupulous toy magnate opens a box store in their town.Two rival toy shop owners reluctantly join forces when an unscrupulous toy magnate opens a box store in their town.Two rival toy shop owners reluctantly join forces when an unscrupulous toy magnate opens a box store in their town.
Lifetime did however do a lot better than 'A Very Merry Toy Store'. It has its moments and is not complete dross, but it is to me one of the worst of their festive output that year and overall and really does not show that they are capable of something that is above mediocrity. Despite such a cute and appetising title, there is not an awful lot of merriment in this toy store or much merry about the film. 'A Very Merry Toy Store' isn't awful, it's just rather mediocre.
'A Very Merry Toy Store' has good things. Melissa Joan Hart, best known to me as the titular character in 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch' (have always been very fond of that) appeals in the lead role. Beth Broderick, who also was in 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch', stands out of the cast. A cast that on the most part is not bad at all, and Brian Dennehy is reliably good value. Some of the scenery is nice and attractive.
Same can be said for some of the soundtrack too and there were some genuinely cute, charming moments.
It is unfortunate though that they are too few and between, to me on the most part 'A Very Merry Toy Store' was rather bland as well as falling into most of the traps present in a lot of Lifetime's Christmas output. There is an exception to the cast, Mario Lopez was on the dull and charmless side as the male lead character and his chemistry with Hart doesn't quite gel and is more lukewarm than on fire. While the cast give their all, the characters are very thinly sketched with no real variation on what has been seen before in other Lifetime work. The villain especially is too much of a cartoon. The relationships never develop and the conflict is too predictable and thin to resonate all that much.
Production values-wise, Lifetime films usually fare much better than this. Apart from the exterior scenery, 'A Very Merry Toy Store' is among their cheaper looking films and it was like it was made in even more of a rush than usual. While the music has its moments, it tended to feel over-scored and over-emphasised the mood at times. The script can be stilted and the cheese and sentimentality get too much. The story is rather formulaic and can be rather uneventful and dragged out from being too slightly plotted.
Concluding, not awful but pretty mediocre. 4/10
- Dec 1, 2020