aka Lucky Girl. Hmmmm, another movie with two titles. That's a good sign, right?
The film opens with Katlin, played by Elisha Cuthbert, scratching lottery tickets in the middle of her honors physics class. She wins $10 and screams. Her outburst catches everyone's attention and she is asked to answer a difficult question. She nails it.
See? Katlin is super smart, but she still has a problem.
Katlin is excited about the ten bucks because that's halfway to a night in a European hostel. Katlin and her sensible best friend, Cheryl, are saving up for a big trip across the Atlantic. Every cent helps.
So why is Katlin playing scratch tickets? That's a game where you have, at best, a 4:1 chance of merely breaking even. Any honors students would know to play games with much higher odds of success.
Katlin is hosting Cheryl's birthday party. She invites the popular girls. Why? Because she wants to fleece them in poker. We're also introduced to Katlin's mom. She provides a bottle of wine for the party of teenagers. Bad mom alert!
Katlin does indeed play poker -- if you can call Five Card Draw poker -- with the popular girls and fleeces them out of $185. Of course, they're playing with fake money. Oh, did I say "fake"? I meant "Canadian." This is one of the movies where it's actually set in Canada instead of fake America. Which is fantastic. The accents are out in full force!
(Since this film was made in 2001, I can make fun of Katlin's wins and losses. I mean, it's only Canadian money. Practically worthless in 2001.)
Katlin's victory over the cheerleaders attracts the attention of some football players who are running a sports book out of their high school. Katlin bets $60 on two games and nails them both. The next week she goes to the sports book run by the black kids at the school. She wins money there too. The next week, she, with the help of Cheryl's capital, starts her own book. For two weeks, it's a success. They make $1,700 in loonies. Of course, the next week, she loses everything when all the bets go the other way.
Ok, so Katlin is an honor student who loves gambling, right? Then how can she lose that much money in one week running a sports book!? That's insane! Sports books only work if 50% of the bettors gamble on one team, and the other half gambles on the other. You take the money from the losers and pay out less than 100% to the winners. (The actual percentages vary on how many bets are being made. Vegas and online gambling gets a ton of bets, so they have better payouts since the volume of betting means they'll still make coin. A school pool like this should probably pay out 90%). This is, over time, guaranteed to make money! So why monkey with the lines and risk everything!
And, yeah, I know she's supposed to be an impulsive addict, always looking for an edge. But, Christ, GAMBLING ADDICTS SHOULD HAVE AN IDEA OF HOW GAMBLING WORKS.
Katlin doesn't have enough cash to pay the football players, so she makes a double-or-nothing bet on a basketball game. She takes the underdog straight up. The boys eagerly accept the bet. What they don't know, is that, duh duh duhhhhh, Katlin uses the Internet for sports research! The favorite's star player is injured! Well, clearly Katlin hadn't heard of something called the Ewing Theory. She loses the bet.
(When they show the basketball game, the score is tied 93-93. Then the favorite makes a last-second miracle heave from half court to win the game 95-93. But, wait. The shot was from half court. The score should have been 96-93. Jesus, Lifetime. Even the WNBA has a three point line.)
Now Katlin is in way over her head. She tries to make her money back via Internet roulette. This turns out just as badly as expected. She's $2,000 in the hole to the football players and $2,600 in the hole on her credit card.
For some reason or another, the Queen Bee of the popular girls asks Katlin to cut class with her and hang out with her older brother to do ecstasy. The older brother, Ron, and Katlin pass on the E but decide to have a high stakes poker game. Because, why not?
Katlin's little girl lost routine nets her two grand. She celebrates by making out with Ron. Ron, by the way, is supposed to be 22. 22? Bullshit.
The next day, the football players demand their money. She says she doesn't have it. They drag her into the men's room, punch her, and take the $1,000 in her wallet. Katlin is still over her head in debts so she starts stealing from her Mom.
I just realized that Katlin's high school had at least three different sports books with the transfer of thousands of dollars as well and girls getting beaten up in men's rooms. And that's nothing compared to the high school in the Degrassi series.
So, my question is, what the Hell is wrong with Canadian schools?
Ron takes Katlin to a creepy loan shark who lends Katlin three grand. He wants the money back in a week. The interest and the punishment for not paying the money back on time are not specified.
So Katlin has enough to pay everyone back. So Ron takes her to an underground casino. Of course! Katlin gets hooked on blackjack. Her first hand she splits on aces and hits two blackjacks! That's a huge win! Congrats, Katlin!
Things go down hill from there.
Now, follow me through this. This may be one of my favorite Lifetime montages ever. Ron is beating up some guy outside who owes him money. Katlin is losing a ton of money because she is betting on instinct instead of on the cards (stop hitting on 16!). And, the proprietor of this illegal establishment, obviously an Asian man, is singing Asia's hit single "Heat of the Moment" on karaoke. In full blown Engrish. Holy smokes.
Katlin lost all of her money. So, she does what any smart addict would do. She and Ron burgle her parents' mansion.
The plan was for her and Ron to split the profits. But Ron is a smart man, and he has his own debts to the creepy loan shark. So he rips Katlin off. And the loan shark still wants his money tomorrow.
Katlin goes back to the casino with only $100, a lot of it coming from her younger brother's piggy bank (he lets her borrow it). After some initial bad luck, she starts winning. When she comes home, her mom is awake and waiting. She knows Katlin has been stealing from her. Katlin is forced to take her substantial winnings and give them to her mom. The creepy loan shark awaits.
What will the loan shark do to repay the loan? Why, film a porno with him and his creepy wife of course. "Let's start with kissing." Yuck. Katlin says she can't go through with it. The loan shark says she has to.
At the last second, Ron shows up at Katlin's house and tells Mom what's up. Mom barges into the loan shark's house, but it's too late. The porno is good and filmed.
The loan shark tries to intimidate Mom by saying that if she goes to the police, he will tear her family apart. Kaitlin then lets slip that she orchestrated the break-in.
"Tell me something I don't know!" Ha!
Mom and Katlin storm off to the car. Mom takes her Club, goes back to the house, and beats the shit out of the loan shark with it. Wow. Did not see that coming.
The family goes to the police and the loan shark, the wife, and Ron are all sent to jail. How does Katlin not get arrested? Oh well, she gets sent to rehab instead. Since she's not allowed to hold money, Cheryl, who is Europe bound, buys Katlin a scooter to give to her brother for his birthday. Awww.
Katlin promptly returns the scooter for cash and heads straight to a bar with one of those coin-op games.
But...YOU CAN'T EVEN GAMBLE ON THOSE!!! PLAYING PHOTO HUNT IS NOT GAMBLING!!!
It figures Lifetime would botch a twist ending.
That's right. The first full 20. Nothing in the film, other than maybe the sports scenes, was so bad as to distract from the viewing experience. Everything was done relatively competently.
And that montage. Oh my God, that montage.
I never meant to be so bad to you
One thing I said that I would never do
One rook from you and I would farr from glace
And that would wipe this smire light from my face
It was the heat of the moment
Terring me what your heart meant
Heat of the moment shone in your eyes
HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 4
I refuse to get that jazzed up about Elisha Cuthbert. Her career is dead. But, oh, we'll all remember the range she showed when she got chased by that mountain lion on 24. That was some quality acting.
Other people? No.
Let me be clear about one thing. The mother figuring everything out is not a case of women's intuition. It was remarkably clear that Katlin had a problem and she ignored it until the signs were glaringly clear.
This film earned its points because it maintained an atmosphere of ridiculous melodrama for the entire two hours. That can't be easy.
GRAND TOTAL: 31
One of the highest rated films in the history of this blog. I hope my write-up makes it clear why My Daughter's Secret Life has earned such distinction.
The movie was so good that I immediately went out and bought two scratch tickets (seriously).
I didn't win.