The Wives He Forgot February 12, 2009Posted by Rusty in the wives he forgot.
Let’s get this out of the way: The Wives He Forgot will be the highest ranked Lifetime movie in our system. It’s sublime. If you’re reading this, please check Tivo or your local listings to see if this will be on in the near future. If so, please watch it before reading this review. I don’t want to spoil the awesomeness if I don’t have to.
I recorded this on my DVR because it starred Molly Ringwald and it looked melodramatic and goofy. An amnesiac marries a lady and then gets tried for bigamy. Awesome. But it’s so much better. Note the plural in the title, the bigamy happens before the knock on the head. And that makes the movie so much more ridiculous.
We open with a thug with a shaved head in a brawl with our amnesiac, Jay. Jay is defending the life of a pregnant woman in a massive yard overlooking a cliff. Jay takes a stabbing, but manages to throw himself and the attacker over the cliff.
Meanwhile, sassy attorney Charlotte is in her office talking to her bff on speaker phone. You can tell she’s just been dumped because she’s inhaling a pint of ice cream. And her friend is calling the male gender a bunch of scummy cheating assholes. Typically subtle. That routine is interrupted by Jay crashing into Charlotte’s office in need of medical attention.
Despite Charlotte never having met this dude before, Jay’s doctor doesn’t hesitate to explain his diagnosis to her. Amnesia. His old memories are dead. They may come back, they may not. Because Charlotte is the trusting type and Jay has nowhere else to go, Charlotte allows him to shack up with her.
This is obviously very stupid but it all works out when Jay, soon to be rechristened Gabriel (because he’s like an angel), cleans her entire house and does the laundry. All while wearing a pink t-shirt that says “Woman is an improvement of man” or some such nonsense. More points for subtlety.
The pregnant lady that Jay rescued shows up to tell everyone of his heroism. Jay gets the key to the city and a $1,000 check that he immediately rejects. He wants the money to be spent on charity or on baby clothes for the mom-to-be. It’s about this time that Charlotte starts sleeping with this perfect man.
And then the wives show up. The first, Gillian, is a nightmare. She immediately, and for no reason, attacks Charlotte for being an incompetent lawyer. Well, granted, Charlotte is sleeping with Gillian’s husband. But Gillian doesn’t know that yet. Anyways, Jay refuses to go with his wife. He wants to stick around with the nice lawyer lady.
Then wife number two shows up. Alicia, a townie Jay met while he was attending Dartmouth, is incensed to find Jay living with Charlotte. And then she’s super incensed to discover that Jay has another wife. The mayor of the town is embarrassed because he just gave this dude a key to the city. And the mayor takes orders from his ball-busting district attorney who hates bigamists. Why? Because women hate them because they represent the worst of men. Men hate them because they’re jealous. More subtlety!
Charlotte dumps Jay on his ass and he’s promptly arrested for bigamy and the usual charges that go along with it (tax evasion and real estate fraud).
Before being locked up, Jay does manage to apologize for being such a bad person in the past and promises to continue his good works and deeds into the future.
This inspires Charlotte to act as Jay’s defense attorney. Her strategy? To claim that “Gabriel” is a different person than Bigamist Jay.
This goes about as well as you’d expect. The wives turn on Jay. Psychologists testify that bigamists are horrible sociopaths. And even testimony from the doctors regarding Jay’s amnesia don’t do much help. The man’s DNA hasn’t changed after all.
Charlotte is still housing Jay, and they have a strict no sex pact. But that’s the least of her problems. Someone driving a Saab with tinted windows sped off from the court house just after Charlotte finds her car’s windows smashed in. That same car appears to be following around Charlotte’s physically intimidating ex-boyfriend and it even appears to be shadowing the pregnant woman that Jay rescued to intimidate her into not becoming a character witness.
The pregnant woman, Eva?, is so spooked by the Saab that she goes into labor right in front of Charlotte. Charlotte takes her to the hospital and her baby boy is named Gabriel. Who’s the father? A “beautiful man who wouldn’t leave his wife.”
Ohhhhh. Now I get it.
Charlotte’s no sex pact goes out the window soon enough. And Jay is the perfect Lifetime boyfriend. He explicitly says he wants to sit in, eat ice cream, and watch Lifetime all night. He sprinkles rose petals on Charlotte’s bed every night. And the movie is quite explicit in that he has no qualms about eating Molly Ringwald out at her request.
Charlotte discovers a connection between one of the wives and Jay’s assailant (whose lifeless body was found with a bunch of bugs in his mouth). They went to high school together. And using security footage at Jay’s old job, Charlotte proves that the wives perjured themselves by claiming they had no idea about each other. It looks like they took a hit out on their husband.
All of this is enough for the jury to nullify the indisputable charges against Jay.
When Jay is acquitted, he smiles at Eva. This is when Charlotte gets it. Jay was really a sociopath! He was faking the amnesia.
Charlotte confronts Jay after he makes a passing comment about remembering his second honeymoon. Jay admits his deceit. He tells Charlotte that he needed to fake amnesia because he knew that his wives knew. And he had Charlotte pegged as a sucker the entire time. Oh, and that Saab belonged to Eva. She was attacking Charlotte and framing the wives for it.
Jay tries to leave with Eva but Charlotte had called the cops before her confrontation with Jay. The cops arrest Jay and The End.
Quick question: What are they arresting Jay for? He didn’t perjure himself. Unless he’s a trigamist or something, he should be free and clear.
It’s really that great. I wasn’t bored for a moment. Such melodrama! A weird sex scene where Molly Ringwald is being nommed by a bigamist. A boyfriend who watches Lifetime. It’s perfect!
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 9
And a bonus point for the mayor being played by some dude from Tommy Boy. I love Tommy Boy.
Taking away a point because I wish there was more than one famous over-the-hill person in the movie. Molly Ringwald is awesome but why couldn’t they find a place for James Brolin in this masterpiece?
The movie is about an amnesiac bigamist so we’re already dealing with a floor of like six or seven here. And the movie opens with two man-hating ice cream bingers. And there’s the good boyfriend watching Lifetime and buying flowers every day and doing the laundry. And then there’s the reveal that all men are evil and want to be bigamists. And then there’s the women’s intuition (I am using the term “intuition” loosely since Charlotte spent the entire movie being conned) to figure it all out before Jay rode off into the sunset.
GRAND TOTAL: 39
Can a 39 be topped? Is there a 40 out there?
I almost hope there isn’t. This movie is mind-blowingly awesome. You must watch it.