Plot: Emily’s Country Inn has been quite an undertaking for Jenny (Lacey Chabert) and Brian (Brennan Elliott), who each inherited half of the estate, then fell in love while fixing up the old house. The inn has opened its doors, but renovations continue and while Brian does his best, he is no handyman and for every problem he fixes, it seems like two more spring up. The stress of the nearly issues is starting to wear on the couple, but it is especially taking a toll on Brian. As he comes from the world of finance, he can see the writing on the wall and if the two don’t figure out some money solutions soon, the inn will likely have a short business run. To that end, he takes a job back on Wall Street to help boost the couple’s income, while Jenny stays behind to tend to the inn and its new arrivals. Will the distance hurt the new relationship or can the two make it work, while also getting the inn’s business off to a great start?
Entertainment Value: Jenny and Brian are back in Inn Love, the second film in the All of My Heart series from Hallmark. I think sequels are uncommon in the Hallmark world, so it is kind of interesting to see their take on what happens after “happily ever after,” even if Inn Love isn’t that memorable. The narrative is in line with the original’s plot, putting some obstacles in the path of the couple’s romance, but conflict is minimal and tension is low. In other words, this is as uncomplicated and predictable as the first one, though that isn’t a critique. I’ve talked about this before, but Hallmark knows its audience and especially in the case of a sequel like Inn Love, it knows how to serve the intended viewership. So while Inn Love might be simple and formulaic, it should still appeal to fans of Hallmark in general, but especially to those who appreciated the first All of My Heart. I think the movie does what it can to inject some drama, with Brian going back to Wall Street and the renovations falling apart, so as far as these kind of films go, it is passable. I wasn’t a big fan of the original, so I wasn’t bowled over here either, but for fans of the first movie and these light, harmless Hallmark movies, it is likely worth a look.
I think fans will be thrilled to see that so many of the original cast members and not just in the leads, but a number of the smaller roles as well. That kind of attention to detail can really bolster a sequel, as it helps Inn Love feel like a genuine followup, rather than a rushed attempt to keep the series alive. Some elements do change, such as the house and the goats, but the familiar faces do a lot, I think. Hallmark veteran Lacey Chabert is back of course and she turns in her usual effort, which means likable and charming, if not all that memorable. She is asked to be a little more harried this time around, trying to cope with Brian’s absence and a potential distance in the relationship, so her light humor isn’t as present. But she is a capable lead for this kind of material and while again, her chemistry with Brennan Elliott isn’t magical, the two have decent banter and the romance is passable. Ed Asner also returns in a gruff, but wise role and Heather Doerksen offers some fun comic relief. The cast also includes Lara Gilchrist, Daniel Cudmore, and Kirsten Robek.