Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Double Wedding

I’ve only been to two weddings in my life and one of them was when I was in middle school, so that hardly counts. They seem like fun though. So fun that a Double Wedding would be irresistible.

Which brings us to Lifetime’s Double Wedding. Double Wedding follows twin sisters “D” and “D.” That’s right, folks. They have the same freaking nickname. Parent FAIL. One can only imagine the hijinks that could ensue should someone get these ultra-identical twins with the same name confused.

D and D look so similar that even the viewer could have trouble telling them apart. Thankfully, the movie deals with this problem in an efficient 30 seconds of exposition.

“You’re such a Type-A+ personality, but thank you for doing my taxes and being a successful workaholic lawyer, D.”

“Oh, you’re welcome, D. I’m always proud to help my more spontaneous, fashion oriented, pastry chef sister. You’re the best!”

The sisters are at their grandmother’s house when they notice a bridal magazine. Who is getting married? Their grandparents! They are going to renew their vows in a fancy cathedral to celebrate their golden anniversary. Awwwwww. Because this is grandmama’s show, she says no plus-ones for the girls. If they’re going to bring a boyfriend, he needs to be special. The Double-Ds pledge to have boyfriends by the “wedding” six months from now.

You see where this is going, right?

Lawyer D, at her unfathomably wealthy paralegal’s suggestion, goes the online route. The name of the dating site is “Strike While You’re Hot.” Where desperate singles meet before they get all ugly and shit! After a few misses, Lawyer D ends up with Tate, an obviously gay guy working in non-profit housing. Their first date goes pretty well, but Lawyer D has to leave early due to a work emergency. I would think that was a pretty dick move if it weren’t for that helpful 30 seconds of exposition. I was prepared for this.

Lawyer D’s big work emergency? Just the impossibly rich paralegal calling her in to break up the date. This is where the viewer figures out that he loves her, but Lawyer D is about 90 minutes from getting there.

(Incidentally, I know a few paralegals. They aren't collecting antique cars and dressing in the finest Italian suits. They are errand monkeys for lawyers.)

Of course – OF COURSE - Tate runs into Pastry D at a coffee shop. And he can’t tell the difference. So he has twin girlfriends and no one knows.

But, really, someone should have figured it out. It’s kind of weird to have your boyfriend refer to your bakery as “The Firm” when you know that your identical twin sister is a lawyer. And when your boyfriend keeps referring to conversations that never happened, maybe just rolling with it is the wrong strategy.

So, the relationships are moving along nicely. Both want to take it slow so, as Harmony’s boyfriend Michael put it, Lifetime doesn’t have to deal with the icky details of having sex with twins. They take it so slow that Lawyer D and Tate forgo phone sex in order to have “phone sleep.” Yes, they just go to bed as the minutes on their cell phone plans tick away. Such conspicuous consumption isn’t really sympathetic to the nation’s current economic climate, now is it, Lifetime?

But so much talking! And when you imagine that this sap is talking for hours to two different woman…ugh. One nice reveal is that Pastry D is only a very successful pastry chef (top 3 in New York apparently?) because she failed smart person tests after her dad walked out on her? Wait, what? Also, Tate’s parents died in a car accident. Too much sexxxy talk! My TV is melting!

This ridiculousness culminates in Tate having conversations with both Ds at the same time so that they can both invite him to Grandmama’s wedding. First he’s talking to Pastry D. Then the phone beeps and it’s Lawyer D. Jesus, Tate. You have a fucking Blackberry. You should be able to see that the phone calls are coming from two different numbers. Then he drops the phone and that somehow magically patches everyone together? I mean, I could have someone on hold and drop my phone 1,000 times and not once will that connect all three parties, but WHATEVER.

So here comes the big reveal, right? NO! WRONG! Lawyer D and Pastry D manage to say the exact same thing at the exact same time so everyone just thinks there is an echo. What. The. Fuck.

The Double Ds decide to go to Central Park for a nice jog because that’s what successful people do in New York. One of them gets a phone call from Tate and they finally realize what’s happening. I am so glad that they found someone so special for Grandmama’s wedding that they never realized he was spending half of his time with another woman.

After Grandmama makes an inappropriate incestuous threesome joke, everyone agrees that they should just drop the relationship. Well, everyone agrees except for Tate. They just don’t bother to tell him that he’s been duped or that he’s been dumped.

Tensions between the sisters continue to mount. Grandmama goes as far as to cancel all of Thanksgiving when the fighting sisters knock over a pie.

likes: pie. dislikes: eyelids.

Pastry D cheers herself up by hooking up with Tate again. Lawyer D finds out, stalks them, follows them into a nightclub, and uses a hair clip to lock Pastry D in a bathroom stall. Shockingly, her hair clip skills weren’t up to snuff and Tate finally sees both Ds at the same time.

There’s some pointless consternation before Pastry D and Tate realize that they’re right for each other and Lawyer D and Antique Car Collecting Paralegal realize that they’re right for each other. (Harmony and I think this may be our first Lifetime interracial relationship, so, yay?) Somewhere in there, the sisters win second place in a cake contest. The cakes look terrible. It annoys me because I have a friend who actually watches Lifetime that could make better cakes. A real missed opportunity for her. (PLUG)

The movie ends with the Grandmama’s 50th anniversary “wedding.” There’s all sorts of happiness and then, whoa!, Pastry D and Tate walk out. They got married too! Oh! I get it. DOUBLE Wedding. Very clever. Kind of weird these guys got married after only six months. The couples drive off in their limos when, BAM, an antique car pulls up. Lawyer D and Paralegal Dude come out of the church too! TRIPLE WEDDING, BITCHES. They promised a double wedding and gave us a triple. Lifetime means value!


You got to love a movie where we’re supposed to be rooting for three incredibly stupid people. Even if they all find love they’re probably just going to die in a can opener accident.

Back in the day I used to split awesomeness into “actual” and “ironic” categories. Just know that if I still did that, all eight points would be firmly in the ironic category.


This is tricky. Objectively, the twins, the famed Mowery sisters are not really famous. They had their own terrible show on ABC’s TGIF lineup and guest starred on an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. That’s as famous as Melissa Joan Hart and Melissa Joan Hart is barely famous. But as soon as I found out about this movie, I needed to see it. Immediately. So I’m splitting the difference.


Whether it’s the wisened black Grandma or every character’s happiness being wrapped up in a nice little bow, this was all pretty Lifetimey. Obvious demerits for no women’s intuition.


The most mediocre score possible for a mediocre movie.

Sister, sister. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t miss them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mind Over Murder

A week ago I was staying at a hotel in sort-of rural Ohio for work and, hey!, the Quality Inn has the Lifetime Movie Network. Score! I can mix business with pleasure!

There was no pleasure.

Mind Over Murder is predictably terrible. Tori Spelling plays an assistant district attorney (ha!) who hit by a car and develops the power to read minds. She then uses this power to go after a Republican Senator who murdered his mistress.

1. This is going to blow the Lifetimeness scale out of the water. Reread that last paragraph. That is shitbird crazy.

2. After reading that paragraph, don't you know every detail of the movie already? Do I need to spend 1000 words telling you about Tori Spelling using her powers to catch people lying on the stand? Or the forced awkwardness of when the judge realizes that one of the attorneys is psychic? No. You got it down.

And I had it down. I actually left in the middle of the movie to go grocery shopping. Seriously. I don't think I missed much. Somewhere in there Spelling falls in love with a cop played by her real-life husband. The lack of chemistry between those two was astonishing.

And since the movie came out in 2006, way after Spellings's plastic surgeries, you have to stare at this for two hours:

Hypnotically unsexy

But, finally, a Lifetime movie so stupid that I gave up on it. Sadly, this one the "pick-a-flick" contest they run for Friday nights. In other words, this movie was shown because of popular demand. That's a Human Centipede amount of scariness.


They say a D- is sometimes harsher than an F, but, no. This deserves the zero.


Tori Spelling only exists to fuel the Lifetime Nightmare Machine. She isn't a celebrity anymore.


And well earned.


So my shortest review ever leads to a 12. Avoid at all costs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Family Sins [Trigger Warning for, uh, Everything]

[Harmony note: Since trauma is the bread and butter of the Lifetime film, I'm going to start putting trigger warnings in the titles when appropriate. On one hand a person can reasonably expect SOMETHING horrible will happen in a Lifetime movie. On the other hand, some movies go a little farther then others, so why not make it easier to skip something you don't want to read?]

It's always a happy occasion when Rusty and I have the time to watch a LMN movie together. Since we don't get to do it very often, it's best to try for a special occasion kind of a film. Family Sins hit our criteria through three very important key phrases: "true crime", "evil basement", and "Kirstie Alley". We sat down on Friday with a bottle of Kid Rock's favorite bourbon (Red Stag!) and gave it a go.

First off, can I just say "ew". It's no secret that my favorite true crime Lifetime movies are the campy ones. This one was like if the team behind Saw remade Serial Mom. I know that it's cliched to proclaim something Saw-like, but this movie is striving for it. Every third scene features someone being tortured in a grimy tableau. Your enjoyment of the movie will be predicated by your ability to enjoy watching a mentally handicapped woman get enslaved, beaten, and raped by people she trusted to take care of herself and her baby. Whoops, spoiler alert. Also, they rape her daughter. Again with the spoilers!

The movie starts with a family photo session that is probably trying to remind us of Capturing the Friedmans. (Remember when we talked about how it's not a good idea to remind us of a better movie in the middle of a bad movie? Read the blog, you hacks!) Is this picture perfect family not what they seem, or will this be the most boring hour since Project Runway moved to Lifetime? Cut to Kirstie Alley playing Brenda Geck, celebrating Mothers Day with her extended brood of biological and foster kids. Her kids are creepy, too. One is a Spencer Pratt-y meathead. There's also a girl who hides in the corner and looks and acts like pre-pubescent Carrie: sad, stuttery, and powerless. She spends a lot of her time shielding a tiny boy in her lap who looks a little too much like the Spencer dude. Brenda receives a bunch of lovely expensive appliances with price tags attached. Carrie, who is actually named Marie, is the only person who did not bring Brenda a Mother's Day present. This is underlined, highlighted, and poked into our eyes by writers who are firm believers in foreshadowing. And rape basements. Mostly rape basements.

The film leaps forward and we learn that Marie has fled the household, little blonde mini-Spence in tow. She's trying to find an official to listen to her story, but everyone is all "That family is cool, you crazy". As always in Lifetime films, social services only exist to rip families apart, ignore children in crisis, and maybe set orphans on fire. Her flight to freedom is interspersed with flashbacks to her icky childhood. Apparently, Mrs. Geck spends most of her time teaching her kids to shoplift and setting fires in her family's rental properties when the tenants displease her. Don't worry for them though, it's not all iron-fist tactics for a Geck property tenant. For example, one of the unfortunate arson victims was lucky enough to be taken in to their home, child in tow, for some loving rehabilitation. It's unfortunate that the Geck family learned their rehab techniques from Abu Ghraib, but oh well. If sexual assault, torture, and forced labor is good enough for our enemies, it's good enough for a mentally handicapped woman and her child. The mentally handicapped woman, who is named Nadine, is locked by Brenda in the basement for "her own good". She doesn't eat unless she does the housework to Brenda's specifications, and the one time she flees the property she's delivered back there by a well-meaning policeman and is rewarded with a beating from a stripped extension cord. She doesn't have the werewithal to escape on her own, and her daughter doesn't fare much better- raised as a Geck, as she grows older she learns of her mother's imprisonment. She also learns that she's expected to shoplift to support the family, and oh yeah, any male member of the family is entitled to sexually assault her at any time. One morning Brenda teases her for getting too fat, only to learn that she's been impregnated by her son. Instead of being horrified, she beats up Marie for being dumb enough to get knocked up by one of her kids. One commenter on the Lifetime site singled this moment out as a "lighthearted teasing" scene that allowed Kirstie Alley to show her fun side. I didn't know they had internet access in the violent offender wings of federal prisons, but you learn something new every day.

Carrie finally manages to find someone who will listen to her, a young DA that hasn't drunk the Geck Kool-Aid. The pieces of Marie's stories don't mesh with what the town believes about the Gecks, but they make enough sense that he's willing to hear her out. A raid on the Geck's house reveals Nadine's imprisonment, which is enough to put them all in custody while the DA builds a case. They slowly learn about the arson, the shoplifting, and the other illegal stuff the Gecks get up to. Brenda is unrepentant, and calls a dude that fences shoplifted goods for her to make things hard on Marie. He haunts her trailer, setting stuff on fire and breaking shit, but is generally just a nuisance as opposed to a real threat. And yes, the only other criminal in the film is black. Of course he is.

The climax of the film is the trial, which pretty much goes how you'd expect. Testimony is given, Marie cries a lot, Brenda looks suitably chagrined, and the men of the family get 10-20 years a piece for their involvement. The judge is super-excited to send Brenda to jail. Marie gets her public vindication, and she moves into a trailer with her mom. The film ends on a touching family hug. Yaaaay!

Awesomeness: 5
Urgh. Yes, this movie is campy and weird, and has a lot going for it in the arena of production values and a very strong cast. BUT! I cannot give awesomeness points to a movie where a mentally handicapped woman reminisces about how gentle her rapist was. Does that sentence make you feel awesome? Hey, me neither. 5 points for baseline awesome and I am cutting you off, movie.

Star Power: 6
Kirstie Alley has to be worth 5 points. She was in Cheers, and also is fat, which apparently means that as a nation we must observe and scrutinize her at all times. Everyone else in this had bit parts in every TV show ever, which makes them all annoyingly familiar but not immediately recognizable.

Lifetimeliness: 10
Now THIS is a Lifetime movie. Motherhood, child abuse, true crime, women in peril: this is the greatest hits reel of Lifetime Movies. This is Now Thats What I Call A Lifetime Movie!. It also had my favorite instance of a social services diss in one of these films: a harried social worker checking her watch and yawning as a child covered in bruises and close to tears says her family life is fine. Fuckin' social workers. Am I right?

I feel 21 is fair. This movie is a riveting watch, and it's certainly everything you'd expect from an LMN joint. But it is just SO GROSS. I'm going to go ahead and say you should watch it once, but I kind of doubt you'll want to watch it again.