Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Deadly Honeymoon (Marvista/Lifetime, 2010)

by Mark Gabrish Conlan • Copyright © 2010 by Mark Gabrish Conlan • All rights reserved

The movie I watched from a Lifetime recording was Deadly Honeymoon, a really rancid piece of Lifetime schlock that was shown last Saturday just before The Client List and seemed to have been scheduled that way to make The Client List — a good but not great exploration of some familiar Lifetime tropes with an alleged inspiration from a true story (which Deadly Honeymoon may have claimed as well — there’s nothing on the official credits but the film’s imdb.com page links to news stories suggesting that this film drew at least some story elements, however tenuously connected, from something that happened for real) — seem better than it really is.

From the title and its appearance on Lifetime I would have guessed that Deadly Honeymoon would be a story about a naïve woman who marries a man she doesn’t know much about but is immediately charmed by, only to find when he gets her on board ship for their honeymoon cruise that he’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: the nice man she thought she was marrying turns out to be a wife-beater, a womanizer, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a compulsive gambler, a gold-digger, a criminal or any combination of the above. No such luck: Deadly Honeymoon turned out to be a deadly dull concoction that confused the issue by throwing in three unsavory Hungarians who seem to have some connection with the husband (one of the Hungarians rapes another woman on board the ship and it turns out that, since the ship is under Liberian registry, the only country in the world that can prosecute him is Liberia).

The husband disappears about a third of the way into the cruise — which started in Hawai’i, where the couple got married, and was destined for Tahiti — and the wife, Lindsay Ross Forrest (played by an actress with the absurd name “Summer Glau”), has a shipboard friend, Gwen Merced (Zoe McLellan), who happens to be an FBI agent on vacation, who nonetheless volunteers to investigate the case when the husband, Trevor Forrest (Chris Carmack, tall and lanky like most Lifetime leading men but with more facial definition than the norm — and in fact rather hunky if you like the white basketball-player type), disappears and blood stains on the ship’s railing make it look like he was thrown overboard — only Gwen abruptly turns against Our Heroine when surveillance video taken by the ship’s hidden camera shows her indulging in a sexual quickie in a hallway with one of the Hungarians. The script by Ron McGee is too convoluted and too dull to build up much in the way of suspense, and the direction by Paul Shapiro avoids the digital flanging effects that have marred too many of Lifetime’s movies lately but also doesn’t have much in the way of excitement — not that McGee’s writing gave Shapiro much opportunity to stage anything genuinely exciting.

The whole thing builds to a really stupid surprise ending in which [spoiler alert!] we’re supposed to believe that Lindsay actually murdered her husband, having married him purely as a patsy so she could off him on board ship, extract a $3 million settlement from the cruise line and use that to open the high-end boutique she’d always dreamed of owning — though even then it’s not clear whether or not those mysterious Hungarians were her co-conspirators or just that many more red herrings McGee threw us. I’ve seen Lifetime movies that were surprisingly good, ones that were predictable but entertaining, and ones like this that simply had little or nothing to offer — not even much in the way of acting chops, since Summer Glau spends most of the movie looking down and acting pouty and the rest of the cast hangs down about to her level. This one was a two-hour waste of time!