Hallmark’s In Merry Measure, starring Brendan Penny and Patti Murin, is an overdramatic delight that’s a bit hard to get into but worth watching, nevertheless. The film fumbles with script cliches that push a bit too hard on the celebrity in a small-town trope, but the last few minutes work best when they tackle the romance and platonic relationships.
The premise, while overdone, is mostly believable: the now renowned singer, Darcy (Murrin), goes back to her hometown, where she begins coaching the school choir her niece Megan (Cassidy Reichman) is part of while still competing with her high school rival, Adam (Penny). I’ll try not to judge and presume that some people hold on old grudges, especially if crushes are involved. I’ll also forgive their ridiculous rivalry and the uncomfortable conversations around jealousy if I consider that they were sixteen at the time. But unfortunately, the execution stumbles as the story tries to take on too many arcs simultaneously without properly spending time going over one without jumping to the other.
Still, Hallmark’s In Merry Measure isn’t a difficult film to enjoy, especially when Penny’s Adam spends most of the time in dorky glasses that consistently made me swoon. The chemistry between Darcy and Adam is relatively strong because while the film has flaws, it doesn’t beat down on the rivalry for too long. It allows the couple to get to know one another even as they bicker, making the progression of their relationship feel more organic.
As frustrating as it is that the film makes it seem like Darcy must choose between staying home and her career, it’s refreshing that the final few moments clarify that she can have both. We’re no longer living in a world where women mainly must make gruesome sacrifices as such, and it’s nice to have more films get on board. And this is to maintain the detail that it’s much harder for us in every area, but we’ve also made enough progress in 2022 that we don’t have to sacrifice our careers.
Though Hallmark’s In Merry Measure doesn’t find a solid balance between its storylines, it does enough to show us who these characters are and what matters to them. Darcy isn’t merely a great singer, but she’s kind and empathetic—she’s someone who chooses to believe in people and their gifts. She vocalizes this belief aloud and grants those around her agency to choose what they want for themselves. The familial relationship between her sister, Gretchen (Jennifer Robertson), was sweet but also something we could have used more of. Further, while we get glimpses of Adam’s home life, more is needed to tell us who he is and why he operates the way he does.
Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: Christmas Class Reunion
In some cases, less is more, which works best with Adam and Darcy’s relationship. While we don’t have as much as I wish we do, there’s nothing I adore more than a “you could ask me anything” moment coming from the man in a romance. There’s something so profoundly effective in those words, and Penny’s delivery makes it much more believable. You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Adam admires Darcy and would fight for her, but he’d never stop her from growing because he’s no longer the sixteen-year-old boy harboring insecurities. He’s a grown man who not only believes in the woman beside him, but he believes in the detail that she makes him better. When these words come into play, the film succeeds beautifully, and every bit of it is worth watching for this moment alone.