It's a Scooby Snack
What is there to say about "Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses" other than it is the 3rd "Murder 101" movie. Well I could mention the storyline about a kidnapped race horse but to be honest that isn't that interesting and I could mention that this time we get a third Van Dyke in the cast as we have Barry's son Shane Van Dyke playing the role of a nephew. But to be honest none of that matters but what matters is that once again we have the laid back, slight jokey and very easy going little crime movie that if you enjoyed the previous movies and "Diagnosis Murder" you will enjoy this.
Summing up "Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses" is incredibly easy because a very expensive race horse goes missing and through Mike Bryant's (Barry Van Dyke) friendship with the horse handler is called in to investigate. This leads to him calling in the help of his old friend and criminology lecturer Jonathan (Dick Van Dyke - Mary Poppins) and it just so happens that Mike's nephew Ben (Shane Van Dyke) is staying with him so also gets involved. As they dig around they discover that several people have motive to be involved including the Brawley's who own the missing horse as they are having money difficulties.
But having summed up "Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses" it would be fair to say that the storyline plays second fiddle to three things, yes the three generations of Van Dykes on screen together. As such we have the fun of Dick giving us a bit of comedy as absent minded lecturer Jonathan who is struggling to get his hearing aids working. We also have the fun of Barry as Mike having to deal with Ben who wants to be a private investigator with him which means Barry has to deal with the over enthusiastic Shawn. It's all fun and nice that there are 3 generations of Van Dykes on screen together but unfortunately it is not enough to sustain this as a TV movie.
So as to the storyline well I found myself comparing "Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses" to a "Scooby-doo" cartoon because we have the trio of Jonathan, Mike and Ben investigating the disappearance of the horse, getting into a few close scrapes whilst various people are made out to be nefarious. And then come the end we get the big reveal as in a room of people Jonathan goes through everything they discovered to reveal the real mastermind at which point if they had ripped a mask off too reveal a creepy janitor it wouldn't have shocked me. It's not terrible, in fact it is what you expect but it certainly doesn't command your attention.
What this all boils down to is that if you like Dick van Dyke and have enjoyed either the previous "Murder 101" movies or "Diagnosis Murder" you will probably enjoy "Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses". But in reality you will be watching because it stars three generations of Van Dykes more than anything.