Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Surrogate (2013) - Review - #Surrogate / #Lifetime

The Surrogate (2013) * 
D: Doug Campbell
C: Cameron Mathison, Amy Scott, Annie Wersching, Matthew Alan, Eve Mauro, Diane Baker
Plot Synopsis: A married couple, struggling to have a child, hires a young woman to be their surrogate, but soon discovers she has a bizarre and deadly agenda.

Review: I'll be honest, while I would never recommend the majority of these made for TV movies that air on Lifetime, at the very least, I always find them watchable. The Surrogate is yet another Lifetime movie that's now been released to DVD. So I expected the same, another watchable, yet forgettable movie, but that was not to be.
DVD Cover Art
Almost from the get go, the film feels false. In the first act, we see an author who has token to teaching at a local college. He and his wife are trying to have a child, but because of some unfortunate circumstances, she can't conceive. Luckily for them, she had her eggs frozen. One of the scenes that introduces us to the male half (Mathison) of this couple is one in which he is teaching students about how to write compelling characters. You know and I know, that Lifetime movies aren't known for there strong writing. So the film is already setting itself up to be an easy target for some unintentional humor.

The couple of the film, have set there sights on surrogacy in a last ditch attempt at having a kid. However, a mentally unbalanced fan (Scott), that also happens to be attracted to him, would rather it be her that is having his kid. So you know what happens? She sets up a meeting between her and the initial surrogate candidate (Mauro) at a club. It's there that she spikes the drink of this surrogate candidate's drink with ecstasy. Right then and there, that would have been enough to disqualify her as a surrogate, but does this stop our psychopathic admirer from taking it one step further? No .....not only does she spike the drink, but then throws the initial surrogate candidate off the roof of the club as well. Talk about overkill.

Eventually, said psychopathic admirer becomes a surrogate for this couple. However, she wants this man all to herself. So she ruins his life so that his wife (Wersching) will divorce him. However, after taking a lot of time and some solid planning to ruin his life, he is simply able to turn the tables on her by confronting her and asking "Why" while his wife hides in the background. I'm not trying to be mean when I say this, but I had a flashback to yet another film involving a writer entitled The Lonely Lady.

For those unaware of The Lonely Lady, the film starred Pia Zadora as an up and coming writer who has her share of traumatic encounters on her way to the top. Pia Zadora is often regarded as one of the worst actresses to ever achieve mainstream success. The Lonely Lady also won six (6) Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Director, Actress & Screenplay. In one key scene, Pia's character has a breakthrough moment by revising a script by simply adding the word "Why". Are you starting to see some similarities between The Lonely Lady and The Surrogate?

Anyway, getting back on point some more implausible situations continue to occur, including one in which the main character moves in with this psychopathic admirer so that he can keep an eye out on his baby. How he manages to live in the same house, with a psychopath, who wants to have sex with him, without ever cheating on his wife is beyond not only me, but the script as well, as the film doesn't even bother to answer that question. We also learn where this psychopath's violent tendencies come from. Turns out she was violently assaulted, but the violence she initially engaged in came from a place of wanting to escape a violent situation, not because she was predisposed to violence to begin with.

So it makes no sense to me as to why this character has suddenly turned into a violent psychopathic admirer?!? In another despicable move, the "hero" of the film berets this character for her behavior as a result of this violent assault. When any kind of facet is revealed about any of the characters, the film is off to the next scene without giving any kind of emotional consideration as to what's happening in the film or what the characters are saying. This also leads to a lot of loose ends.

The hero of the film is played by Cameron Mathison. To put it simply, he's a grade A hunk. His wife is played by Annie Wersching. She's certainly not bad looking in the least, but she's nowhere near as attractive as Mathison. I always wonder why that's the case in these Lifetime movies. Maybe it's because they are geared towards a female audience that wants some attractive eye candy, but then again, the show The Client List achieved some success on Lifetime and that featured the obviously attractive Jennifer Love Hewitt as the show's protagonist.

Talking a little bit more about the characters, Mathison plays an author who also moonlights as a college teacher. Wersching, who plays his wife, works as a successful real estate agent. And then there is Amy Scott. Her character has gone to great lengths to manipulate various situations over the years. These characters appear to have some shred of intelligence, yet, here they are, in a movie that seems to make one elementary mistake after another. [Not Rated] 87 mins.  

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