film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

A Date with Deception 2023 * * Stars


Leena Pendharker directs A Date with Deception and wants you to really know how thought out her movie is. With enough flashbacks to make The Usual Suspects look like Romper Room by comparison, "Deception" fashions these flashbacks in regular and quick cuts and almost makes them appear like filler. I mean you could have just settled down and shot the whole darn thing from the beginning.

And that's the problem. A Date with Deception is about a woman who goes to prison for a crime she didn't commit with said woman trying to get revenge on her ex-husband who put her there. What no first act, no false arrest, and no trial? What no anguish of going to the slammer and getting harassed by fellow inmates while ex-hubby chills in swank abode? What no judge denying parole and throwing down that almighty gavel?

Yup, A Date with Deception bypasses the agog. It basically starts with a flash-forward three years later and then time travels back like all get-out (revert to first paragraph). Hey, I'm not saying director Pendharker doesn't know where to put the camera and can't set up a scene. It's just that her film presents a severe lack of suspense. No one really appears like they're ever in danger, the stock characters make weird decisions, and the set locations are rather nebulous. Same office space, same parking garage, same luxurious digs, different natural setting. What? Really?

"Deception" stars Kia Dorsey, Hannah Jane McMurray, and Rib Hillis. The acting overall is pretty middle-of-the-road with only Hillis (as antagonist Elias) providing any kind of trashy spark. Rib Hillis, well no one plays a Lifetime flick slimeball quite like the Rib-meister. It's in the sneer, the debonair wardrobe, the way he hams it up like all Easter Sunday, and the way he harshly maneuvers the ladies. When he's off-screen, A Date with Deception is nothing more than a stylish "wheeze".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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