Monday, April 12, 2010

Plain Truth

So, Plain Truth. Set in a more primitive time (2004), Plain Truth is the story of a defense attorney who is sick and tired of representing smarmy white collar criminals. So, she does what any lawyer would do, represent an Amish girl charged with infanticide. It's a story as old as time.

The attorney, Ellie Harrison, is all-sorts of no-nonsense. Check out the DVD cover. Power suit? Check. Arms crossed? Yuppers! She's even played by Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay. She is what would happen if the personification of Hot and the personification of Stern had a baby.

I admit I appreciate seeing Ms. Hargitay in a Lifetime movie. Not just because of the hubba hubba factor. Those cheekbones are DARING Lifetime to put her in soft focus. Thank God Lifetime cuts the usual camera tricks and all of the actors look like normal people instead of people in a tampon commercial.

So there's this Amish girl, Katie. Some other Amish kids find a dead baby in some of Pennsylvania's famed marshlands and Katie is all, "Whuh?" Then the police ask her some questions so she faints. Not because of the stress though. Because of post-birth complications. They find a placenta and shit lying around. (ALWAYS EAT THE PLACENTA. LIKE A CAT.) The autopsy finds the baby died of asphyxiation and this should be an open-and-shut case. But perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye?

No, not really.

Katie needs to lawyer up. And that's where Ellie comes in. She decides to put off a two month vacation in Tuscany because her conscience won't let a person go unrepresented. Remember, she needs the vacation because she doesn't like representing guilty people (UGH) and KATIE IS PRETTY CLEARLY GUILTY. There is a lot of evidence that points to Katie being fucked in more ways than one, amiright, guys?

In the bail hearing, the judge, clearly a fan of sitcoms, decides that Katie can get out on bail as long as Ellie stays with her on the Amish dairy farm to keep watch. Hijinks ensue. Ellie doesn't get cell phone service and her laptop keeps running out of batteries. She can't provide adequate representation without technology, hahaha.

Katie's dad is an especially big asshole about it and won't allow any technology in the house. Even the Elders are a little put off by that. The stakes are too high!

So Katie's argument is that she is a virgin who was never pregnant. She's played by an actress named Alison Pill and that last name is very much appropriate because, ugh. She lies about being a virgin. She lies about being raped when it becomes clear that she had sex. She lies about not knowing the father's identity. Finally, she admits to giving birth but forgetting what happened afterwards. When Katie asks to testify on her own behalf, Ellie literally snorts at the prospect of this pathological liar on the stand. It was great.

(An aside: I love Lifetime. Katie totally invents a horrible rape accusation and when she gets caught in that crazy, a psychologist says it's ok because Katie is just trying to impress Ellie. Oh, Lifetime. Where mommy issues excuse lying about rape.)

(Aside #2: It is only a matter of time before I get Katie and Ellie mixed up in this review.)

It turns out that Katie has a secret brother living in the big city of Harrisburg, PA. He left the church to go to university and he got disowned for his troubles. Their mom secretly allowed Katie to visit Big Bro. Katie met a boy in a dorm and got knocked up. Katie doesn't tell anyone and eventually gives birth in that swamp.

For some reason, after all of the lying, Ellie goes all-in on the forgetting what happened story and gets an expert witness to say that the baby died of an infection caused by contact with animals. And it looks like she's winning! So she does what any sane lawyer would do and calls a surprise witness. The baby daddy!

The best is when Ellie calls a surprise witness and the prosecutor objects. When he finds out who the witness is, the actor almost falls over himself saying "OBJECTION WITHDRAWN." Well played, actor dude.

The baby daddy says that, in his "expert" opinion, Katie would never hurt a baby. The obvious response from the prosecutor is, "Did you think Katie would lie so goddamned much? Oh, you didn't? Good testimony, douche/statutory rapist."

Katie gets acquitted and hurray? Katie's mom goes to thank Ellie back at the farm and says she has a little something to give her. Then the low end of an organ appears on the soundtrack, and, uh-oh. Why what better gift for a victorious attorney than a pair of farm scissors covered in vagina blood. After losing her son, the mom couldn't bear to lose a daughter so she hid the pregnancy and took care of the evidence.

The End.

Oh, P.S., Ellie falls in love with the psychologist who is also her ex-boyfriend and who gives a shit.

AWESOMENESS: 16

Despite all the snark, the first half of the movie was kind of good. A little nonsensical, obvs, but a very breezy hour. Things took a detour into crazy town, but it was expected and appreciated. Seriously, watching this movie, it wasn't a case of if things would go nuts, it was when. And the film handled that well.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 5

I love Mariska Hargitay, FYI. But she isn't that famous. Kind of fun to see her Ordering instead of Lawing. Sam Waterston she is not!

Allison Pill was in Milk. And Katie's dad was in a personal favorite: Die Gottesanbeterin

LIFETIMENESS: 6

Well, there's a mother determined to keep her family together at all times. And there's the professional woman realizing that she needs to loosen up and date her ex. Both common themes.

The intuition was lacking however. The movie should have been called "Lie to Mariska Hargitay for Two Hours." And it always worked! It's kind of a casting fail since Hargitay is famous for one show where she sniffs out bullshit. It would be like casting Jerry Seinfeld as an action hero or Tina Fey as an ugly spinster.

GRAND TOTAL: 27

A thoroughly above average movie. Definitely worth the hour and forty-two minutes.

If you don't want to spend that much time on the movie, then I HIGHLY recommend a four minute clip of nothing but photos of Mariska Hargitay in Plain Truth set to the worst song by one of the worst bands ever. If this is supposed to be funny, it is genius.




Nickelback > Incubus. If you don't know, now you know.

5 comments:

coulrophobic agnostic said...

Ugh, this movie was shit. Of course, so was the book - Jodi Picoult is my most despised writer alive. (Or dead, really, I might hate her more than Faulkner.)

HarmonyC said...

"or Tina Fey as an ugly spinster."

Lol, 30 Rock fail.

Also, dude above me- AWESOME AVATAR.

Jannie girl talk said...

Well I personally love Jodi Picoult sorry agnostic!! ;) I also loved the book Plain Truth that this movie is based on. One of the better Lifetime movies if you asked me- but shit I was also sick and tired of Katie's lies.

Anonymous said...

I hate Jodi Picoult with a passion. And fyi the Amish have different sects that allow certain things ie: electricity in their barns or owning a cell phone or having a phone in your barn. And another no no in Amish land is communicating with a shunned member of the group.

Seriously the Amish are annoying.

Amanda said...

Like HarmonyC, I love that you call 30 Rock out. Fuck you Tina Fey, come to my house and see what an ugly spinster REALLY looks like.