When I heard that Courteney Cox had directed Lifetime's latest "danger on the World Wide Web" movie, I was concerned. Jennifer Aniston's Lifetime movie was practically unwatchable, and it was only 15 minutes long. They are former stars of the same show, and BFFs! What if Courteney's movie didn't have the right combination of crazy, TV-PG sex, and naiveté necessary to pull of an Internet-deception Lifetime movie?
To my surprise, Court really came through. Tall Hot Blonde (or "Talhotblond," as it appears on the interwebs) was actually much more watchable than most Lifetime movies in terms of dialogue, pace and even a convincingly suspenseful score by Sasha Baron Cohen's brother Erran. Luckily, it was still completely ridiculous and awful, as all Lifetime movies should be.
Thomas Montgomery is a middle-aged steel worker who's married and has two children with Carol, played by Laura San Giacomo from Just Shoot Me. They're the perfect married couple, except Thomas is secretly a psychopath who can't sustain an erection. We know this because he has both a creepy moustache and child-molester glasses. And also because of his and Laura's awkward sex scene at the beginning of the film:
CAROL: You... wanna try? [Vagina immediately becomes lubed up enough for intercourse]
THOMAS: [Raises eyebrows, then rolls on top of CAROL fully clothed, makes "putting penis into someone" gesture. Does one test thrust, then rolls off of her.] I'm sorry.
Thomas is part of a weekly poker game, and one night his friends suggest he join them for an online poker game on a gambling website. He's like, "Computer? whaaa? I think we have one of those contraptions!" But apparently he's a quick learner, because the next night he's typing by touch and using suggestive emoticons like a pro.
You'd think an online poker game with your buddies would be an unlikely place to meet an attractive young lady, but Thomas is on the Internet for mere seconds before "Talhotblond" pops up, asking him all about himself. When he asks, "Are you REALLY a tall hot blonde?" she immediately sends him a pic of herself in a bikini, so Thomas -- and not a single person watching the movie -- is convinced that she is who she says she is.
The next day, Thomas' magical computer skills manifest themselves again as he scans a photograph without having to update any software, swearing, or even making the weird "uhhhh," "mmm" and "oh!" noises that he moans while using the computer throughout the rest of the film. I guess the photo is of him as a young marine, but it looks nothing like him, and I spent most of the middle part of the movie waiting for it to be explained that they had a dead marine son or something.
Anyway, Courteney Cox (sans makeup!) shows up as Carol's best work gal pal, who puts the seed of distrust in Carol's mind about Thomas cheating on the internet. Carol, haven't you ever seen a Lifetime movie? The Internet is trouble!!! Well, when Thomas goes and buys a laptop on the credit card, Carol knows something's up, so she logs onto the computer and finds out Thomas' awful secret.
By the time she finally confronts him, he's in too deep -- the tall, hot blonde has sent him printed out copies of the same photos she IMed, along with some underwear. (She apparently doesn't find it odd that he said he was deployed, yet she can mail him at his house.) He runs into the woods away from the prying eyes of his family, then holds the lacy underpants up to his face, discretely smelling them as his creepy moustache ripples lightly in the breeze.
He gets her phone number, then calls her, whispering while perched on the edge of the tub. She's clearly much, much better than his dumb and dowdy wife, who says stupid things like, "I thought that movie we saw tonight was funny!" He tells the tall hot blonde he loves her, and that he wants to marry her. Little does he know that she'll receive a scathing letter from his wife only days later, that contains a picture of him and his family!
When the shit hits the fan Carol makes Thomas sleep on the old couch in the garage, but she doesn't go sell the laptop on Craigslist, so of course he keeps talking to Talhotblond on the Internet. But when she starts IMing a young coworker of his, Thomas goes officially apeshit. He no longer adjusts his glasses and blinks a lot while reading her IMs, but is now taking his glasses off and wiping imaginary sweat from his eyeballs! He writes things like, "Fine, be his whore!!!" and starts slamming closed the laptop in mid IM-convo, a practice that is not only bad for those with snoopy wives but also those who value their computer.
Finally, Thomas can't take it anymore, and he goes and shoots the coworker right in the face, then throws his rifle and the laptop into a lake. This being Lifetime, though, this was the first scene they showed, thereby spoiling the climax of the entire movie. Oh well, moving on...
After that, Thomas suggests a camping trip, and there is some marshmallow roasting and successful in-tent boning. But the cops are waiting for them when they return home in the family truck, and when they take Thomas to the police station, he's shocked to find out that the tall, hot blonde is not a tall, hot blonde after all! She's the gray-sweatshirt-wearing mother of the tall hot blonde!
Yep, that's the twist: that the person on the Internet in the Lifetime movie is not who she said she was. Was it her vagina smell on the undies, or her hot daughter's? Thomas will never know.
Putting the twist-that-wasn't-really-a-twist earlier in the movie is just one of the many ways in which Tall Hot Blonde could have been improved, however. I humbly make these suggestions to Courteney for the next Lifetime movie she directs, which I hope is soon:
- The lady is supposed to be the main character! Why was I watching some guy I had to look up on IMDb to find out he's in Raising Hope sweat in the garage when we could have been watching Laura SanGiacomo freak out about her husband cheating on her? She has some serious acting chops -- have you never seen Pretty Woman??
- Let's just agree to tell Lifetime movies chronologically from now on. You don't need to show us the money scene at the beginning of the movie, and you especially don't have to segue from that scene into the rest of the movie by using a modem sound. Enough said.
- Get Anne Heche to play the crazy woman on the Internet. (But first, if you haven't seen her 2006 Lifetime classic, Fatal Desire, I'm not sure you should even making a Lifetime movie that has the Internet in it.) You don't even have to pay her to say anything -- when the cops show up to the supposed Tall Hot Blonde's house and it's Anne Heche, the viewer will know some real crazy shit just went down, just by the look in her eyes. If you have more room in your budget, show lots of scenes of her cackling, and hire Eric Roberts, too.
- How did this movie not feature a gambling addiction? Thomas is on the poker website every night, but he is somehow not gambling his family out of house and home. A gambling addiction could have tweaked the tension even further. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure that Carol should have to pay with everything she has for being foolish enough to trust a man.
- "No Touching!" The fact that this movie doesn't have a scene where Carol visits Thomas in prison and tells him what an asshole he is is inexcusable. We only get mere seconds of Carol going, "What's going on here, officers? My husband couldn't possibly be involved with this!" before she herds the kids into the house. Even The Craigslist Killer, one of the worst Lifetime movies of all time, had a prison visitation scene! In fact, there are entire Lifetime movies that basically take place in a prison visitation room (Betty Broderick: Her Final Fury, I'm looking at you). It's tradition!
That being said, I think Courteney's next Lifetime movie should be about a confused teenager who has an eating disorder. She can play a helpful teacher or guidance counselor. What Lifetime movie do YOU want Courteney to make?