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A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

Two rival toy shop owners reluctantly join forces when an unscrupulous toy magnate opens a box store in their town.


Paula Hart


David Breckman




Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa Joan Hart ... Connie Forrester
Mario Lopez ... Will DiNova
Dan Amboyer ... Randy Forrester
Kurt Cole ... Nervous Lawyer
Audrey Grace Marshall ... Eleanor
Chester Jones III ... Dad
Gina Hiraizumi ... Aviana
Leslie Gilliams Leslie Gilliams ... Greg
Cameron Mann ... TJ
Beth Broderick ... Pam Forrester
Brian Dennehy ... Joe Haggarty
Anthony Del Negro ... Ed
Tara Strong ... Francine
Billy Gardell ... Roy Barnes
Raelynn Zofia Stueber ... Cute Little Girl


Widowed Connie Forrester, mother to an adolescent son, TJ, and divorced Will DiNova are both second generation owner/operators of their respective family business. Those businesses just happen to be both toy stores - Forrester Toys and DiNova Toys, respectively - and both located in New Britain, Connecticut, one block away from each other. Connie's father and Will's uncle, from who they inherited their respective business, used to be business partners until they had a falling out which led to the two stores so close in proximity. Both Connie and Will speak nicely about the other's store when customers ask, but quietly seethe about the existence of the other and thus are not really on speaking terms. They are also both struggling financially, with Connie soon having to make a balloon payment on the store's property mortgage, while Will is trying to buy back what was his family's home which his ex-wife got in the divorce settlement, they both hoping a good Christmas season will yield ... Written by Huggo

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TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When Marshall hits the snow bank during the bobsleigh race, the bobsleigh gets stuck in the snow bank while Marshall is propelled forward through the air. In the subsequent resting shot, both Marshall and the bobsleigh are side-by-side, Marshall behind and the bobsleigh beside, what one would assume is supposed to be that same snow bank. See more »


Randy Forrester: If I am so bad at poker, how come everybody in town wants to play with me?
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References Rabbit Seasoning (1952) See more »


This Christmas
Written by Donny Hathaway
Performed by Straight No Chaser
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User Reviews

Toys for Christmas
1 December 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Throughout my whole Lifetime (am going to be another person to reiterate that this is not Hallmark) Christmas film completest quest undertaken namely late last year, an interesting quest but very hit and miss, there was never the mentality of expecting a classic or the film in question to be flawless. Something that was never managed with Lifetime's output. There was always the expectation of seeing a film where one can see at least some effort rather than merely cash-in level. One could see that with enough of Lifetime's work.

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

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Release Date:

26 November 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Christmas Hours See more »

Filming Locations:

New Britain, Connecticut, USA See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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