Celebrating a centennial event last year inspired this telefilm starring the always adorable Bailee Madison ('Once Upon a Time') and telling a surprisingly cute, if not common story centered on the Girl Scouts. It's a script that left me thrilled to pieces by its endearing prowess at its conclusion.
Moving from no-where-ville Alaska to a smaller community that actually has a population seemed like a good idea at the time. With a move comes the opportunity for young Daisy (Madison) to make new friends - which is just what her father wanted for her, but she soon realizes that she is quite unprepared to hold together the barely there girl scout troop 114 when the gang of misfits have no leader. Yet, the job falls to her. Enter Julie Sterling (Jessalyn Gilsig), a determined real estate agent who's made her living lying to clients just to get prestigious titles and enviable promotions. Much to Julie's dismay, her boss (Patricia Richardson) - who just happens to be a former troop herself, volunteers Julie to lead the Fireflies as a part of a community outreach. Now instead of neat showings and a perfectionist lifestyle, Julie is car-pooling and trying to lead a group of girls who are each struggling with feelings of being invisible or challenges at home.
Julie Sterling, saleswoman extraordinaire may have met her match.
Writers - whether they are of the publishing or screen sector, seem to lack brilliant or even mediocre approaches when it comes time to wrap a story; writing really good endings to otherwise sweet stories seems a failing these recent years. Coming from a girl who actually likes fuzzy romantic comedies (even those awkward television films - clearly this movie is proof!), there seems to be an even worse decline when it comes to ending movies. Specifically speaking of this film, I thought it hit all the right strides - there was cuteness overload, lessons learned, a group of kids learning self-worth, and then just when you are nestled in that cocoon of sweetness and goofy grins, comforted that there actually are movies you could show to a ten-year-old, the movie loses it. Like, why-is-are-the-girls-crying, running-after-a-bus losing it. The whole ordeal seemed overly dramatic and more of an awkward scene meant to inspire emotion - what writers tried to do and what they didn't do are two very different things.
Distracting from the usual flaws is a fun cast! Though unfamiliar with Gilsig's credits, I liked her in the lead role as well as seeing Patricia Richardson in something again - and of course, the always brimming with personality Bailee Madison was adorable in the role of daughter and girl trying to keep together a failing troop. Also in the cast list is Ty Olsson and Michelle Creber. Several instances of the script were fantastic - like the girl's barbs toward Julie (particularly one of them "assessing" whether or not there is chemistry between Julie and a romantic interest) or the mishaps in the house showings, and then there are the commonalities that an audience pegs long before even the story is ready to reveal them. Once all is said and done, this is a darling charm of a movie. It's got some pizzazz and there are no "baddies" to wish ill-will on. (For a crime-loving fandom girl like myself, that can sometimes be a welcoming breath of fresh air!) It's sassy and sweet - kinda' like a thin mint cookie.
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