Review: ‘Sweet Temptation’

TX: TX:Filmed in Los Angeles by the Konigsberg Co. Executive producers, Frank Konigsberg, Joyce Eliason; producer, Jack Clements; director, Ron Lagomarsino; writer, Eliason; This triangle has three emotionally needy, yet fully functioning, points. Jesse and Jade are close but there's tension, which Billy's demanding presence intensifies. He's got a voracious sexual appetite, impossible for the dateless virgin Jade not to be jealous of, let alone ignore.

TX: TX:Filmed in Los Angeles by the Konigsberg Co. Executive producers, Frank Konigsberg, Joyce Eliason; producer, Jack Clements; director, Ron Lagomarsino; writer, Eliason; This triangle has three emotionally needy, yet fully functioning, points. Jesse and Jade are close but there’s tension, which Billy’s demanding presence intensifies. He’s got a voracious sexual appetite, impossible for the dateless virgin Jade not to be jealous of, let alone ignore.

Billy turns out to be just a possessive jerk. Wine and innocent frolicking lead to hanky-panky as he rushes Jade’s sexual awakening. The statutory rape is kept a secret for a short while as he plans to marry her mother.

The aftermath is naturally on the heavier side. Jade’s dad (Ted Shackelford) assumes a bigger role in her life and the satisfying outcome is not too neat.

All three leads are utterly believable as the very real and slightly offbeat characters. D’Angelo is quirky, sexy and caring; Estes brings a cool charm to the repellent Billy. But the night belongs to Lewis for making the adolescent interesting. She’s no Calvin Klein poster girl and she makes it plausible that her seducer is drawn by her warmth and humor as much as by her looks or his libido.

Adult material develops at a nice pace and is never handled in a sordid or condescending manner. Writer Eliason is dialed-in to the teenage dilemma and treats the events on an emotional level, not as an issue. When Jade defends the reputation of pigs and voices her concern for the environment, it sounds original. Similar touches heighten the vidpic’s appeal.

Sweet Temptation

Production

Sweet Temptation (Wed. (6), 9-11 p.m., CBS)

Crew

Camera, Eagle Egilsson; editor, Elba Sanchez-Short; production designer, Nicholas Preovolos; sound, Peter Austin; music, Mark Snow.

With

Cast: Beverly D'Angelo, Rob Estes, Jenny Lewis, Meadow Sisto, Judy Ann Elder, Francia Dimase, Ted Shackelford, Natasha Dorfhuber, Brian Donovan, Sheila Wills, Mary Joy, John LaMotta, Wendy Lawless, Michael Clark Elias, Pamela Kosh, Victor Alfieri, Nancy Linehan Charles , Brenda Isaacs Booth, David Quittman, Sarah Dampf, Michael Raimi. Sweet Temptation" lives up to its title in a mouth-watering opening sequence showing the preparation of gourmet desserts. What follows is also pretty delectable, with four-star performances and self-assured presentation transforming what could easily have tasted like leftovers. Director Ron Lagomarsino delivers a stylish and well-observed drama with help from Mark Snow's soundtrack and the Hollywood Hills locations. The sensitive script by Joyce Eliason is balanced with empathy for 15 -year-old Jade (Jenny Lewis) and her mother Jesse (Beverly D'Angelo), who runs a catering business from her house and has a younger b.f., Billy (Rob Estes).

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