“If the Lifetime channel says no to a trashy movie…then it must be pretty bad.” – Zach Alexander. Yes, I’m going to trademark my own quote, because it has described a lot of the filth I’ve watched on Netflix and other streaming platforms. Films that probably should’ve been on the Lifetime channel, but an actual entertainment star or two prevent it from airing there. DANGEROUS LIES is the ultimate new Netflix film that honestly probably should’ve been the ultimate new Lifetime film, as all of its cliched plotting, forced and terrible acting, dumb cheap non-surprising twists, eye rolling romance, overacting, predictable plot, and the overall general cheesy cheese of it all is a staple of Lifetime, where Netflix has more of a “meh” or “just a bad” film type vibe. This movie is all kinds of cheesy awful, but here’s the thing, it’s so bad that I was actually paying attention to it the whole time rather than paying attention to other things. That isn’t to say this is a “so bad its good” movie, because I would never ever watch this piece of shit again, but I was laughing at the whole project and didn’t want to miss a chuckle, while trying to piece together the puzzle on why Dangerous Lies was even made. The real mystery, and I kind of want to e-mail them on this, is whether or not Lifetime really said no to this. Because if they did, and Netflix is just going to be a ‘Yes Man’ during this whole 2020 streaming wars quarantine COVID-19 butt fuck type of year…then we are all in serious, serious trouble.
Dangerous Lies stars Riverdale’s Camila Mendes and her eyebrows, along with Jesse T. Usher, and then a bunch of what I’d call mere extended cameos from Elliott Gould, Sasha Alexander, Cam Gigandet and Jamie Chung. All of them should look at their check or direct deposit from this movie in shame. Per me being lazy and quoting IMDB.com: “When a wealthy elderly man dies and unexpectedly leaves his estate to his new caregiver, she’s drawn into a web of deception and murder. If she’s going to survive, she’ll have to question everyone’s motives – even the people she loves.” Doesn’t that sound like a fucking Lifetime movie?!? Here’s the thing though, there shouldn’t be any questioning in this, what is really going on is really nothing that shocking or twisty. Anybody watching this should be easily able to figure out everything by the end of Act I. It doesn’t even try to come up with a dozen red herrings to try and confuse the shit out of you. There is one red herring, and it flashes bright red in your face the entire time. And the acting in this is God awful. I know that Riverdale is supposed to be a dark soap opera based on the Archie comics, so Camila Mendes’ acting in that is appropriate, but here, it’s overacting and cringe worthy. In fact, every time any character says a really cliched, lazy piece of dialogue, you can see the actors about to almost cringe from it coming out of their mouths, even while saying it they know they can’t try and save the line. They are just trying to grin and bear it, which makes their performances hard to watch.
Every single person acting in this screams paycheck. You can tell this was a quick and easy shoot, probably done in one or two weeks, as the plotting and dialogue is very lazy and simple. Who tries the least? Easily Cam Gigandet. Every scene he is in he looks like he took a valium right before the director cries “action!” You knows he’s thinking, “I was the main bad guy in the first Twilight movie and a bunch of other shit like Burlesque when it came out and now I’m relegated to cheesy awful Netflix movies that Lifetime didn’t even want?!?” It’s all bad, even Elliott Gould is acting like he’s Jack Gellar on Friends but more senile. Camila Mendes’ character is the most badly written of the bunch. She’s one of those “nice and honest” characters that is always like, “maybe we shouldn’t do this” one second, but then two seconds later she is doing it and then talking out loud how much regrets her decision. And in this movie, those lines of character dialogue repeat every five minutes with her. So in an hour and 35 minute run time, you do the math of how many times you want to smack your forehead. The fast foward in time ending is one of the worst yet funniest thing I’ve seen all year, I had to pause the film and make sure I was actually on Netflix and not watching a soap opera in the morning on CBS after The Price Is Right.
I’ve been saving the funniest thing for last. The only compliment I can give this film is that its framed really well and the director knows how to work a camera. There are some nice static and dolly shots in that film. Would you like to know the director’s name? MICHAEL SCOTT. I shit you not. And this guy has directed, let’s see, MOVIES ON THE HALLMARK CHANNEL AND LIFETIME!!! HOLY SHIT!!! His whole career is shitty television movies. Unfortunately, the other real Michael Scott’s movie, Threat Level Midnight, is probably better than any of them. (If you are not getting any of my The Office jokes, you should probably quarantine binge that series next, but stop when Steve Carell leaves the show). Dangerous Lies can be easily missed, it’s one of the worst things on Netflix this year, but if you really want to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, you might get something out of it while it is on in the background with a glass of wine and some girl friends over. That I cannot lie admitting.