It’s not the same as seeing “Dallas” return as a weekly series, but the Hallmark Channel will feature two of the show’s stars in new movies during the next two Saturday nights. Both productions are worth checking out, even if you find yourself pretending you’re watching an alternate-reality version of the Ewings.
First up: “Perfect Match,” which debuts June 20 and casts Danica McKellar (“The Wonder Years”) and Paul Greene as competing wedding planners who fall for each other while helping a young couple arrange their ceremony. Linda Gray plays Gabby, the groom’s mother, and it should come as no surprise to hear she’s the best part of the movie. The script doesn’t give Gray nearly enough to do, but at this point, the actress has mastered the art of making the most of limited screen time. The twinkle in her eye when Gabby plays matchmaker for the lead characters is worth the price of admission alone. Like Sue Ellen, Gabby is stylish and classy — and every time she mentions her son’s fiancée Lucy, you might have to remind yourself she’s not referring to Charlene Tilton’s “Dallas” character — but otherwise “Perfect Match” doesn’t have much in common with the Ewing family saga. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: After all the suffering Sue Ellen did last year, isn’t it nice to see Gray in something lighter?
Up next: “A Country Wedding,” debuting June 27, stars Jesse Metcalfe as Bradley Suttons, a famous country singer who finds himself torn between the self-centered starlet he’s engaged to marry and the down-to-earth childhood sweetheart who unexpectedly re-enters his life. (Gee, wonder which gal we’re supposed to root for?) This movie is a little weightier than “Perfect Match,” and it’s certainly the more “Dallas”-like of the two: “A Country Wedding” takes place in rural Texas, so there are lots of scenes of Metcalfe riding horses, hanging out in barns and mending fences (metaphorical and otherwise). We even get to see the actor wrangle some livestock, just like he did during the calf-birthing sequence during his first year at Southfork. “A Country Wedding” also offers some surprises, beginning with this: Metcalfe can sing! He carries a tune nicely, and his musical performances give the movie its best moments. On the other hand, every time Metcalfe belts out his character’s signature tune — the melancholy “A Cowboy Rides Away” — you might find yourself thinking about how poor Christopher Ewing got blown away last year.
If that memory depresses you as much as it does me, maybe Hallmark Channel will cast more “Dallas” actors in more movies to cheer us up?
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