OK, yes, "Smart Cookies" (9 tonight, Hallmark Channel) is an ad for the Girl Scouts timed to celebrate the organization's 100th birthday. But it's such a sweet little film, and so not afraid to have a little fun at the group's expense that you can't hold the sell against it.
Jessalyn Gilsig plays Julie, a high-maintenance, controlling, uptight and successful real estate agent who is pushing to make agent of the year at any cost. Naturally, she has no personal life which means she has no man. Her boss Lola (Patricia Richardson) is eyeing a merger with another firm and wants to shore up the company's social work bonafides. So she assigns Julie to lead a Girl Scout troop for 90 days. Julie doesn't like kids and doesn't want to do it. But she does want to make partner one day.
It turns out the Fireflies are a motley crew; there's an eager beaver new to town named Daisy (Bailee Madison), a seeming juvenile delinquent, a girl obsessed with boys and marriage, a girl who doesn't speak and a chubby girl. The Fireflies troop is typically bested and demeaned by the Monarchs troop led by the steely and hyper-competitive Hazel (Samantha Ferris). Hazel's not the only one not impressed with Julie; Tom (Ty Olsson), the handyman doesn't like her much either.
Those are the elements for Julie to learn to love the girls, the girls to learn to love themselves and Julie to find love. What's fun and more interesting is the Girl Scouts allow a slightly mean-spirited, comically competitive tone to the annual cookie sale that becomes the centerpiece of the film. You know, in real life, that it must get ugly sometimes during those sales. At a time when organizations are oversensitive about their images, it's pretty cool that the Girl Scouts are game to have a little fun as long as the message in the end is positive.
And of course it is. Everyone seems to be having fun in the film and you'll smile and maybe even go 'awww' at the end. And when cookie season comes, you might buy a few extra boxes.