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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: 'High School Lover'

A celebrity stud falls for a high school teen queen. It's a perfect fairy tale story, but their romance is not only forbidden (and probably illegal) ... it's possibly deadly.

That's the premise for last night's Lifetime premiere of "High School Lover." This is the latest Lifetime epic to feature the talents of Oscar-nominated actor James Franco. In this movie, he plays super single dad Rick who is raising a gorgeous teen daughter Kelly (Paula Singer) and an equally cute little girl Rachel (Ashley Aufderheide). He also has a gorgeous live-in love Samantha (Julia Jones).

Life is awesome for the family, but Kelly is a a typical teen who likes parties and boys. Her two besties Allison (Lana Condor) and Larry (Tyler Alvarez) get her into a secret exclusive get-together where she meets Hollywood bad boy Christian Booth (Francois Arnaud). He zeroes in on Kelly, and she is smitten with him. One thing leads to another, and she begins seeing him on the sly. 

When dad Rick finds out, he's not happy. But he may be too late to convince his daughter that she's too young for Christian (who is 10 years her senior). Oh...and he had a previous relationship with Samantha, which adds to the tension. Kelly's in love, so she's deaf to her father's concern. It's not until Christian's controlling, crazed side emerges that she realizes father probably knows best. 

Twitter was on fire discussing this stalker drama last night and with good reason. "High School Lover" is pretty entertaining. This is part forbidden love story, part stalker drama and part horror movie. It adds up to a pretty solid made-for-TV movie. Franco handles the dad role effortlessly. He's sympathetic but stern as he tries to negotiate with his rebellious daughter. Singer's performance as the confused teen in love (and lust) with the movie star is convincing, and Arnaud is excellent as the celeb stalker.

The story (written by Amber Coney and Jessica Coney) somewhat plausible, and director Jerell Rosales keeps the tension boiling until the explosive (and predictable) climax. 

This movie echoes pre-Lifetime epic "Betrayed by Innocence" featuring Barry Bostwick as a director who unknowingly beds a teenager -- a far more serious movie. 

Check out "High School Lover" and try to suspend your disbelief as there are many unanswered questions. The most important being ... how can the tabloids overlook Christian's relationship with a high schooler ... and why weren't the cops involved when it was discovered that he was dating a teen?

Tune in the next time this is on Lifetime or LMN and perhaps you'll find these answers.

"High School Lover": Directed by Jerell Rosales; Starring James Franco as Rick Winters, Paulina Winters as Kelly, Francois Arnaud as Christian, Julia Jones as as Samantha, Lana Condor as Allison, Tyler Alvarez as Larry, Ashley Aufherderheide as Rachel  

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