Director: Elizabeth Allen
Cast: Nick Jonas, Isabel Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Kandyse McClure, Paul Sorvino, Graham Rogers
RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual Scene)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 18 June 2014
Synopsis: A guy gets more than he bargained for after entering into an affair with the wife of an investment banker. Soon, a suspicious death and substantial life insurance policy embroil him in a scandal.
If you’re curious what the Jonas Brothers have been up to since their break-up two years ago, this wannabe erotic thriller will give you one-third of the answer. Indeed, lead singer Nick Jonas plays the lead here, a clueless adolescent who gets more than what he bargains for when he falls in love with the sexy wife of his new next-door neighbour. Yes, this is that sort of movie where the adulteress is up to no good, where the well-known and wealthy husband will turn up dead in an apparent act of self-defense, and where our dear Nick will naively be complicit in covering up the husband’s death but realise that he has been played the fool all this while.
Pretty much most of the movie unfolds just as you would expect, with Jonas’ character Doug getting horny watching Lena (Isabel Lucas) from his bedroom window, accepting an invitation from Lena to go over when her husband Elliott (Delmot Mulroney) goes on a business trip overnight, falling head over heels for her after a night of sex, and pledging to protect her when she claims that Elliott has been physically abusing her. By the time Doug finds her standing seemingly helpless over Elliott’s dead body, he is already too consumed by her to suspect that things may not be what they seem. An investigation by the local police, led by Sheriff Jack (Paul Sorvino) ensues, but what threatens to blow the lid off their affair is the arrival of an insurance investigator, Angie (Kandyse Mcclure), who believes that Lena engineered Elliott’s death to claim the US$10 million payout.
Like we said, this is a film that is completely by-the-numbers, not surprising given that this is its screenwriter Chris Frisina’s first full-length feature. Not even a very late twist saves it from being entirely formulaic, and that in itself is probably reason enough for some to simply avoid this. Yet those who do not mind a Saturday-evening cable-TV quality movie will probably find that you can do much worse than this competently directed potboiler from Elizabeth Allen (whose only other feature to her credit is the teenage comedy ‘Aquamarine’). Allen knows her material ain’t too original, so instead of overplaying the predictable plot turns, she focuses on keeping the pace sufficiently brisk and engaging.
As for Allen’s cast, Jonas is convincing enough as the sexually immature teenager whose head is manipulated by his hormones. Lucas, on the other hand, is too slight to be a femme fatale, and the role could certainly have benefited from an older mid-30s actress like Charlize Theron. The rest of the supporting cast are adequate, but there is frankly nothing demanding about their characters. And yes, you’ll do well to bring the same mentality to this modest thriller that doesn’t aim to be anything more. It could be better of course, but you could do much worse if you’re in need of something just to occupy your time.
(An entirely by-the-numbers wannabe erotic thriller that is sufficiently engaging for the most undemanding viewer)
Review by Gabriel Chong