×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Client List

Pitched as "Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a mom turned hooker," this pic pretty much sells itself.

With:
Samantha Horton - Jennifer Love Hewitt Rex Horton - Teddy Sears Dee - Sonja Bennett Jacie - Lynda Boyd Doreen - Chelah Horsdal Tanya - Heather Doerksen Emma - Kacey Rohl Laura - Kandyse McClure Cassie - Cybill Shepherd

Frankly, a movie pitched as “Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a mom turned hooker” pretty much sells itself, which is why “The Client List” is such a pleasant surprise. Steeped in Texas atmosphere (even if it’s shot in Canada), this Lifetime satire might be the cheekiest longform offering regarding the Lonestar state since “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom” — one that comedy writer Suzanne Martin and director Eric Laneuville have infused with unexpected humor. Enrolling for this list is a pleasure, but go figure, not a guilty one.

Inspired by (and one suspects not rigidly beholden to) a true story, the movie stars Hewitt as Samantha Horton, a former beauty queen with young kids and a husband (Teddy Sears) who has lost his construction gig. Desperate to avoid foreclosure, the unemployed massage therapist applies for work at the Kind Touch Health Spa, only to discover the touching is a bit kinder than she anticipated.

After some moral bargaining with the little angel figurine on her dashboard, Samantha begins to reap the rewards of this “recession-proof business,” enabling her to buy lavish gifts for her children, hubby and even judgmental mom (Cybill Shepherd, an inspired casting choice for this small role). Alas, life grows a bit more complicated when one of her grateful johns offers the tired working mom a bag of cocaine to perk her up.

Eventually, of course, the whole scheme has to go kablooey or there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise, right? While there’s an undercurrent of hypocrisy throughout (as in the scene when Samantha bumps into a client at church), the second half — where she’s dragged into court, shamed by the town and pressed to name her patrons’ names — can’t quite sustain the same cheekiness level as the first.

Still, the real fun is in getting there, and acting as exec producer and star, Hewitt dives into the part with relish — gamely modeling trashy outfits and saying things in her best Texas twang like, “A girl this pretty, she’s not supposed to be poor!” One might have to reach all the way back to Lesley Ann Warren in “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue” to achieve similar hooker-with-a-golden-heart giggles.

As for rationalizing their sinful ways, Samantha and her co-workers dryly note that the job “beats the hell out of waitressin’.” The same goes for “The Client List,” which beats the hell out of the hash that Lifetime’s movie arm generally slings.

The Client List

Lifetime, Mon. July 19, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by Fedora Films and Jaffe-Braunstein Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dannielle Thomas, Howard Braunstein, Michael Jaffe; producers, Ted Bauman, Lynne Bespflug; director, Eric Laneuville; writer, Suzanne Martin.

Crew: Camera, Tony Westman; production designer, Phil Schmidt; editor, Lisa Robison; music, Richard Marvin; casting, Valorie Massalas, Ron Digman. RUNNING TIME: 120 MIN.

Cast: Samantha Horton - Jennifer Love Hewitt Rex Horton - Teddy Sears Dee - Sonja Bennett Jacie - Lynda Boyd Doreen - Chelah Horsdal Tanya - Heather Doerksen Emma - Kacey Rohl Laura - Kandyse McClure Cassie - Cybill Shepherd

More TV

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director, Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content