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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Not on Lifetime: 'When the Bough Breaks'

It's time again (finally) for another installment of "Not on Lifetime" -- movies that aren't on the network but easily fit the description of Lifetime/LMN flicks. This week's movie is "When the Bough Breaks," a movie I've been wanting to see since it was released last year. Thanks to Starz, I had my chance this weekend.

This pregnancy/baby thriller follows a formula not unlike the classic "Hand That Rocks The Cradle." In this movie, however, the villain isn't a nanny but rather a disturbed surrogate mother.

The plot revolves around childless couple John (Morris Chestnut) and Laura (Regina Hall). They visit a surrogate agency and are connected with a young lady who seems to be a perfect fit, Anna (Jaz Sinclair). At first, Anna seems like a wholesome, shy young lady. She introduces John and Laura to boyfriend Mike (Theo Rossi), who fails to impress. He's a serviceman, but comes across as a boorish lout.

So, things should be okay after Anna is successfully inseminated and becomes pregnant with a baby. This is a movie though, and things aren't quite that simple. You see, John is a bit of a hunk ... and once Anna comes out of her shell, she is freaking hot. So, there's some sexual tension ... mainly brought about by her undressing in the window and sending NSFW instant messages. And boyfriend Mike is an absolute nightmare. He's abusive and has a plan to hold the unborn baby for ransom and demand money from the very well-to-do couple.

John's suspicious, so he enlists the help of a buddy at his law firm, Roland (Michael K. Williams) to investigate Anna and Michael. Well, they discover that Michael's a first-class thug, and Anna is a bit of a trainwreck.

Unfortunately for John, Trainwreck Anna is really off the rails and envisions a life with him. He fends off her advances, not telling his wife. Quick note to guys ... when a hot chick sends you video strip-o-grams and dances around the house in her panties, tell your spouse!! There's really no way of explaining WHY you didn't say anything.

You see where this movie is heading, and it's pure Lifetime gold. There is a requisite showdown between the hapless parents and nutty mom ... and (spoiler alert) a feline fatality.

It's pretty easy to figure out where this movie is heading, but the results are still entertaining. Chestnut and Hall are no doubt effective as the picture perfect couple with some intimacy problems and other issues. Newcomer Sinclair works her magic as a sexy, and less than sane villainess. She easily balances sensuality with sinister underpinnings.

Veteran director Jon Cassar creates an uneasy environment for these characters. Although set in an upper crust New Orleans community, the vibe is tense ... with Anna sneaking looks at John while Laura is creating a dream nursery. The story is not unlike any made-for-TV movie, but I'm not complaining. In a world with special effects-laden, mind numbing blockbusters, it's always a relief to see a B-thriller like emerge on the big screen (even though I saw it on TV).

If you need a break from Lifetime...but absolutely can't do without the drama of sinister surrogates and sexually-frustrated spouses, this mainstream movie will do the trick.

"When the Bough Breaks": Directed by Jon Cassar; Starring Morris Chestnut as John Taylor, Regina Hall as Laura Taylor, Jaz Sinclair as Anna, Theo Rossi as Mike, Romany Malco as Todd, Michael K. Williams as Roland

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