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It’s a double dose of family love with TV movies

Sunday is a night of televised romance, fun and whimsy

By Michael Storey

This article was published April 21, 2013 at 2:11 a.m.

It’s a “twofer” Sunday for family shows.

Yea! That’s two family-friendly, no-murders, no-violence, feel-good movies at the same time.

Or practically the same time.

Pick one and record the other.

From 7 to 9 p.m. on ABC Family Channel there’s Lovestruck: The Musical. Over on ABC we have a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, Remember Sunday, airing from 8 to 10 p.m.

Let’s take the latter first.

You had me at “Hallmark Hall of Fame.” The venerable anthology franchise has been the comfort food of TV ever since the very first presentation, Amahl and the Night Visitors, on Christmas Eve 1951. Remember Sunday is No. 248 in the long list of shows over the decades.

In recent years, there have been three presentations per TV season. The last one this season was January’s The Makeover starring Julia Stiles. It followed the basic uplifting Hallmark formula, as does Remember Sunday.

With Hallmark you know you’re going to get all teary-eyed and you don’t care. You’re guaranteed a good, cathartic weep since the movies usually end on a note of hope and happiness.

Remember Sunday stars two fan favorites - Zachary Levi and Alexis Bledel.

You loved him in Less Than Perfect, and as nerdy spy Chuck Bartowski on NBC’s Chuck. And she was adorable as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, and 2005’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Now they’re together in Remember Sunday as star crossed soul mates.

Bledel was still a teen when Gilmore Girls debuted, but she’s 31 now. And if you think Levi is playing an “older man,” in this movie, you’re right. Levi is 32.

The pair have great chemistry in the film.

Bledel plays Molly, a waitress just spinning her wheels as her dreams pass her by. Then she meets a handsome, but decidedly quirky, jewelry store clerk named Gus (Levi).

Gus is nice enough and seems to really like her, but he also seems distracted, absent-minded and sometimes plain confused.

Molly wonders if she’s finally met “Mr. Right,” but also wonders if his preoccupation and forgetfulness mean he already has a girlfriend. Maybe even a wife and kids.

So, what’s his problem?

The problem is that three years before, the astrophysicist genius developed a brain aneurysm and he has lost his short term memory. He remembers old friends and his sister and a few others, but every morning when he wakes up begins as a blank slate.

His life revolves around sticky notes to remind him where he lives, who’s who in his life, and what he’s supposed to be doing that day.

For Gus, every time he sees the lovely Molly, it’s like the first time they’ve met.

Ah, but like the movie 50 First Dates, Gus falls for Molly’s sensitive charm (and big blue eyes) every time.

In a Hallmark news release, Bledel describes Molly as “searching for her place in life.

Nothing comes easy for Molly.

She’s barely scraping by financially. It seems highly unlikely she’ll ever achieve her dream of opening up a flower shop. She has been in a series of lousy relationships.” Bledel adds, “In the face of all this bad karma stuff, she’s a very optimistic person. She has an innate sunniness about her.” Bledel was born to play sunny. She really pulls the role off.

Levi says, “One of the interesting paradoxes of the story is that I think we all, deep down, yearn to be with someone who essentially falls in love with us every day. That’s what Gus offers Molly. Every time he sees her, he doesn’t really remember her, but he falls in love with her all over again anyway! That’s an amazing and powerful thing.” There are serious obstacles. Can they pull it off? Can they?

C’mon - it’s a Hallmark movie. Added bonus: The movie was filmed in New Orleans, so we get to see locations other than Los Angeles. And the marvelous Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie) plays Gus’ loving sister Lucy.

Sing and dance. Lovestruck: The Musical is an original ABCFamily production starring Jane Seymour, Sara Paxton and Drew Seeley singing a mix of new tunes and old favorites from artists such as Lady Gaga, Madonna and Whitney Houston.

Not that it matters much, but there’s a plot to go along with all that.

Lovestruck tells the tale of Harper (Seymour), a former Broadway star who left the spotlight after an injury to become a choreographer and raise her daughter Mirabella (Paxton).

When Mirabella decides to quit Harper’s next show to marry playboy Marco (Alexander DiPersia), her mother is determined to jet to Italy to stop the wedding.

Enter movie magic.

Harper takes a swig of “pain” medicine and - poof - is magically 30 years younger and looks just like Baby Daddy’s Chelsea Kane.

Tom Wopat plays Ryan, Mirabella’s father. Magically, he’s whisked back to a younger self as well (played by Seeley).

Stuff happens. It doesn’t matter what, because this is all about fun and whimsy.

TV Week, Pages 83 on 04/21/2013

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