Desperate Hollywood Housewives
When I think of Hallmark movies I tend to think of sweet stories full of gentle charm and often romance, I don't really think of them giving us murder mysteries but that is exactly what "The Hollywood Mom's Mystery" is. But one thing is for sure and that is whilst not a comedy you must not take "The Hollywood Mom's Mystery" seriously because in doing so the weakness of it all will make it feel quite corny. And to be honest expecting the corny is probably the best way to approach it as it attempts to takes a waspish stab at the life of Hollywood wives and stars whilst delivering a murder mystery story. With a very small nod to "Sunset Boulevard" with it starting with a dead body in a pool and a fleet of scenes which all feature plenty of narration it is at its best amusingly corny but also strangely watch able.
Lucy Freers (Justine Bateman) maybe married to a Hollywood husband but she is very much an outsider when it comes to the Hollywood Housewives and finds the shallowness of their lifestyles quite amusing. But when her friend and neighbour Julia Prentice (Angie Everhart) is discovered dead, face down in Lucy's swimming pool she turns amateur sleuth to discover exactly how she ended up dead. And in doing so discovers dark secrets and relationships between those Hollywood husbands and wives she knows, but will she discover who killed Julia or will she become a victim herself?
Now I did mention that "The Hollywood Mom's Mystery" starts with a nod to "Sunset Boulevard" with the mix of narration and dead body but it is not a nod which continues through out as once those scenes are done with it becomes this waspish murder mystery. It's waspish because so much of the movie has fun with showing the complete fake ness of the Hollywood lifestyle, the wives who adopt children as a fashion statement, the pushy kids who as young actors act like adults and the whole trends such as vegetarian diets and so on. None of this is subtle; the stab at making fun out of the Hollywood lifestyle is very much in your face and even extends to a celebrity obsessed cop. But at the same time it is kind of amusing with so many Hollywood trends made fun of.
Get past this and the actual storyline is rather a routine and quite weak who dunnit as we watch Lucy try to get to the bottom of why her neighbour ended up dead in her pool. It is all very weak and quite cheesy as Lucy's investigation leads her quickly to discover her neighbours past and relations with other friends which naturally leads everything to rest on who a mystery man named Mr. X is as well as her leading to suspect several of her friends of killing Julia Prentice. In fact it is more than quite cheesy and with cliches such as the car which is trailing her, the ease of discovering a hidden past and a handsome young man who enters the scene it borders on the corny. But in the way with the amusement generated from being waspish the corny side strangely works and you end up watching "The Hollywood Mom's Mystery" not to really find out who the murderer is but to see how daft it can become in a kind of soap opera-ish way.
As for the acting well to be honest you don't expect great acting from a TV movie and you don't get any either with the acting and characters again all feeling a little soap opera-ish. But then it is all in fitting with the whole style of the movie so in fact whilst Justine Bateman may seem a bit weak as Lucy Freers she is also very entertaining as the Hollywood house wife who is an outsider from the clique. What in a way is more amusing is the various recognizable faces which crop up such as Elizabeth PeÃ±a, George Hamilton, Martin Kove and Andrew McCarthy. And what for me in one of the movies funniest scenes we watch Lucy and detective Theresa Shoe end up on a film set where Shoe thinks she sees Robert De Niro, but in fact it is his stunt double and body double mimicking him. It is a scene you have to watch to see how amusing it is.
What this all boils down to is that "The Hollywood Mom's Mystery" is a movie which if watched seriously will border on the awful. But when you watch it for the waspish way it makes fun of the Hollywood life style, the soap opera style acting and the corny humour it becomes amusing. In fact you end up not caring who is behind the murder, which is a good thing with so many plot holes, and just looking forwards to the next stab at Hollywood.