Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s the Word (2016)

I tried really hard to like this movie, but, story of my life, it just didn’t like me back. Despite a magnetic lead in Brooke Shields and some choice flower puns, the convoluted plot turned what might have been a breezy mystery into a two-day chore. I watched once on background while doing actual chores but had to watch a second time because I kept hearing names of people who never seemed to appear. Only after copious note taking did I manage to piece together what happened.

And it goes something like this. Abby Knight (Shields) is a lawyer turned flower shop owner who’s moved back home. She’s feeling a little mellow after her husband died two years ago and her daughter left for college. Being home has its perks; she’s closer to her father (Beau Bridges), working with her best friend, and running into her high school classmates. That’s how we meet Elvis (Wayne Hard), Abby’s prom date who’s now a little worse for wear. After a few stints in prison and some time on the streets, Elvis tells her that he’s ready to turn his life around.

Except he immediately becomes the lead suspect in a murder that could be connected to a hit and run. Here’s where things get confusing. There are two, maybe three or four, crimes going on, and these threads get tangled up worse than a pair of earphone cords. It all starts when someone smashes into Abby’s vintage Mercedes around the same time that a man is spotted running out of an alley where a dead body is found.

Billy, the deceased, worked at a nursery owned by Tom, who’s going through a contentious divorce from his wife, Penny, cousin of Abby’s best friend. Since Abby is no longer in the lawyer business, she recommends her friend, Dave, for the case, and as he is a little shorthanded, Abby volunteers to help dig up dirt on Tom and Billy. Follow? Greg, the assistant DA and another classmate, does what he can to feed her info from the inside, but his value IMHO is to be the attractive attorney. Meanwhile, Abby is getting random parking tickets for obvious non-violations and conducting stakeouts of I don’t know who.

The most confusing part is keeping everyone straight. The reveal clears things up but doesn’t justify the narrative chaos. There are way too many random police people, and I couldn’t distinguish one officer or detective from another. It would have worked better if they labeled everyone by number and forced them into a lineup. Abby zeroes in on one detective who doesn’t even seem to appear onscreen.

Thankfully, my frustration didn’t distract from the enjoyable partnership between Abby and the sexy ex-private eye across the street. Marco (Brennan Elliott) owns a bar and grill, and like his neighbor misses some of the excitement of his former career. In addition to helping her with the case(s), he also wants to take her out on a date. It’s the first episode though, so Marco’s going to have to get a little more familiar before our girl Abby jumps back into the dating scene. Let’s hope things get better for us on the next go around too.

Highlight for spoilers: Okay, so here’s the deal. This whole mess is down to some pricy orchid bulbs that Tom was hiding in the mums. Billy finds out about the scheme and is killed by Buzz, a fellow nursery employee. But Billy’s got his own side hustle. He’s got an illegal sports betting operation, and Tony Vertucci, who I think is the nephew of the commissioner – the guy who was at the restaurant with Abby and her dad, is the one fleeing the scene of the crime and the guy who hit Abby’s car. He was just there to place a bet when he saw Billy’s dead body and panicked. I think, and I could be totally wrong, that because Tony is now in the mix, the commissioner wants to make sure his nephew stays out of this so pins Billy’s death on Elvis. He might have enlisted Detective Blasko to harass Abby by giving her tickets and cutting her brake lines; you know, regular police work. But then again, someone named Detective Corbinson keeps popping up. He’s the one on vacation and I still have no clue what his deal is.

Released: 2016
Dir: Bradley Walsh
Writer: Gary Goldstein
Cast: Brooke Shields, Brennan Elliott, Beau Bridges, Kate Drummond, James Cade, Ron Lea, Altair Vincent, James Thomas
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
Reviewed: 2018

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