Sony // 2010 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 24th, 2011
A mother will do anything for her family.
And if she's really stupid, she'll become a whore!
Poor Samantha Horton (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Party of Five). She used to have it all: the crown of Texas homecoming queen, an affluent lifestyle, a loving husband and some cute kids. But the economy goes in the tank, hubby loses his job and their adjustable rate mortgage skyrockets. It's a full-blown crisis and, desperate to make sure her kids don't have to go through life without Xbox, Samantha takes a job at a local masseuse parlor.
Turns out, it's more than massages these ladies dish out with their hands. That's right, it's a prostitution ring, with the call girls servicing all manner of society's bloated tubs of lard. The money problem is solved, but how long can Samantha keep secret her shady goings-on? And when the s -- -- inevitably hits the fan are we...supposed to feel bad for her?
Yes, I guess we are supposed to conjure up sympathy for this numbskull. The end title card suggests this sordid tale is based on true events. Great. I'm glad we have finally seen the feature film adaptation of a woman who needs money so she resorts to bang strange dudes and is shocked that her family thinks it's kind of a scummy proposition.
Maybe if Samantha Horton was a single mother with five kids and her deadbeat boyfriend left her with crushing debt to a bookie and the only way to keep her kids safe was to turn towards prostitution I'd be able to summon some empathy for her situation. Even then it's still dicey, but you can get where alternate-Samantha Horton is coming from.
From the get-go, I just couldn't drum up any tears -- crocodile or otherwise -- for this Samantha Horton. It just didn't make sense. Yes, her husband was bitching about waiting in line for a day laborer's position, but does that seriously mandate the profound leap directly from housewife to hooker? I was left with only two conclusions: She's either 1) really stupid, or 2) really horny. Never crossing my mind: "What a great mom!"
Even weirder is the tone The Client List sometimes strikes. A glance at the DVD cover suggests a provocative excursion as a heavily made-up Hewitt lies unclothed on a bed, covered by a leopard-skin comforter, with a faceless dude in the background getting ready to give her the business. Her expression on this cover, by the way, is more "let's get it on" than "I miss my kids." But there's almost a dark humor vibe, which doesn't fit the gravity of the subject matter.
The tone changes abruptly when it all inevitably blows up in her face and there are many tearful conversations with her mother (Cybill Shepherd, Taxi Driver). and her husband and she and her cohorts go the dick move route and trade their jail sentences for narcing on the johns.
In the end, I just can't get past how unlikable this character is. I don't care how hard Jennifer Love Hewitt worked on her southern accent; she's saddled with portraying a dope.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital, and no extras.
No happy endings here.
Guilty and you can't bargain your way out of it this time.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated