It’s 12:14 pm
Waaaaaay back in our 100th review,we covered an original Hallmark Channel movie. It wasn’t a Christmas or Thanksgiving movie either,it was a true mystery film and the Aurora Teagarden films featuring Candace Cameron Bure and Lexa Doig,became a huge hit for the channel.
It also (of course) sparked off a whole new genre for Hallmark which rebranded on its channels “Hallmark Movies & Mysteries” and start several different movies series featuring a cute couple along with a best friend solving different crimes. In order to tell the series apart,they are assigned different titles…”A Bakeshop Mystery”,”Morning Show Mystery”,you get the picture. Each series has at least two very well known names if not three,are filmed in Canada and gets at least 2 movies per year if the ratings warrant it.
Now the cheetah and I happened to enjoy the two Ro Teagarden films we have very much but finding these Hallmark films was a little rough until recently when someone figured out that Hallmark Channel viewers will gladly buy DVDs of their favorite movies.
It is because of this turn of events that I found “Framed For Murder:A Fixer Upper Mystery” while on a out and about. I had heard that the singer Jewel was trying her hand at acting and I was very curious to see how she would do.
The film opens with a bang as we see someone plant a bomb of a cabin cruiser and start a timer for 9 hours,plenty of time make a clean getaway and establish a alibi. The next morning the owner of the boat is indeed killed as the bomb goes off.
Then we meet contractor Shannon Hughes (Jewel) as she is finishing up her best friend’s,Jennifer (Erin Karpluk) new bed and breakfast. As they celebrate,Jennifer’s uncle Jessie gives a nice speech and tells a well worn story.
Shannon notices a stranger snooping about and when she asks him if he needs help,the stranger turns out to be best selling true crime writer Mac Sullivan (Craig Ferguson). He is looking for Shannon Hughes as he has just bought an old manor which needs restoration. He can’t find the guy and asks if Shannon knows him. She keeps quiet and he leaves.
That night at Jessie’s place,he awoken by a noise and when he investigates,he is killed.
It isn’t until the next morning when Jennifer can’t contact him and asks Shannon,who lives across the street from him,to do a wellness check. Shannon discovers Jessie’s dead body and promptly clashes with the local cops who seem to to think this is a open and shut case of a an accidental death.
Soon after formally meeting Mac who has flat tire which Shannon changes,the two join forces to solve the mysterious death of Jessie. Despite Jessie’s good nature,there are several people who may have ample motive to murder him…..
Did the cheetah and I like “Framed For Murder”? Of course we did. While the mystery was way too easy to solve,the real fun here is watching Shannon and Mac chase clues and red herrings.
While Jewel and Craig Ferguson make a fun crime busting team,there is zero romantic tension between the two. Ferguson and a solid supporting cast give Jewel a lot of help as she feels her way through the movie,she feels a bit wooden throughout and her delivery seems a bit stilted a bit.
Two things that slightly slowed the film for was a lack of actual renovation done by Jewel,it would have been nice to see Shannon actually work on Mac’s house a bit and would have allowed more of a natural togetherness. Her just letting Mac stay at her guest house just seem forced and something Shannon wouldn’t do.
The ending scene where Shannon and Mac are looking for a item in Jessie’s house.
The item would have been hidden so much better and having Shannon find it in a minute,yeah,no one is believing that even if Shannon had worked on the house in the past. Drawing the scene out would have heightened the suspense so much better. But as this was the first film,one can overlook small bumps like that.
The supporting cast is rock solid….Craig Ferguson is very known for starring in “Eureka”,Hallmark Channel stalwart Ron Lea plays Shannon’s father and the beautiful Laura Soltis plays Jessie’s girl friend Althea.
Erin Karpluk hopefully will get more screen time as Shannon’s best pal Jennifer in the next couple of films.
The story is very generic and vanilla and that is okay as it lets Jewel get comfortable in the role without asking her to do a lot of heavy lifting character wise. I’m sure she will and the stories will only get better.
“Framed For Murder” has a run time of 85 minutes and has no special features.
This is a perfect film to watch on a cold wintery day and the cheetah and I both give this movie a thumbs/paw straight up.
The Fixer Upper Mysteries are based on a relatively new series by writer Kate Carlisle.
You can buy this film and any of Hallmark Channel’s films by going here.
Comments are welcome.