Middling: A Wife's Nightmare
Directed by Vic Sarin
Written by Blake Corbet, Dan Trotta
Produced by Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, John Bolton, Larry Gershman, Meyer Shwarzstein
Starring Jennifer Beals, Dylan Neal, Lola Tash, Spencer List, Tracey Hway, Katherine McNamara, Alex Ferris, Nicole Hombrebueno
You know, if you (Beals) were employed by a development firm and repairing to your presentational berth, lusk husband (Neal, faded rock star) and son (List, spineless epicene) following hospitalization to treat your nervous breakdown, and some gorgeous gamine (Tash) arrived to profess your shiftless spouse's paternity in flirtatious ascent as your household's cynosure just as your occupational project's files were mysteriously deleted, you'd wax snappish, guzzle medication and whine to a confidante (Hway) resembling James Remar, too. Well, you would. If only for Sarin's tolerable direction and photography, this conspiratorial melodrama's a notch better than most of Lifetime's antic agitprop, but it founders on an unsteady terrain pocked with yawning diegetic holes, risible dialogue and remarkable improbabilities. Boundlessly bounteous, Beals' working wife is burdened with a caddish househusband and alternately craven and violent son, but her imprudence is as inexplicable as her poise: who in their right mind would neglect to copy backups of indispensable professional data to external drives and a corporate server, or file for a second mortgage to finance their faineant partner's rock album in 2014?! Even Goldman Sachs wouldn't entertain debt of such frivolity, unless they did. Photogenic Tash holds her own as well as her senior co-stars, but isn't cumbered with the script's worst lines; those are reserved for teenlet List and his BFF Ferris, a daft, fifth-rate pseudo-Duckie whose every getup seems assembled to maximize his humiliation. As the faithless fink of sub-Mathesonian vice, Nash hasn't the charisma, edge or especially sex appeal to passably play a requisite Evil White Straight Man, and neither is his villain's artifice perverse enough to enjoy. Grossly overcut productions like these are almost inspiring: composed with modest art, any score of shots might prove compulsive as one, and its second's ASL is tiresome to anyone whose concentration exceeds that of a cokehead. Never mind that distaff hypergamy and its collateral infidelity now prevails as never before in modernity; Lifetime's audience can't be gruntled unless an inverse of reality's spoon-fed to sate their indignant pretensions. This is only worth watching for an amusive riff, and a rare picture of any moderate interest or entertainment in which Beals has starred.
Recommended for a double feature paired with The Babysitter's Seduction.
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