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Sexting in Suburbia January 17, 2012

Posted by Rusty in 25-29.
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It’s time for another one of our patented January pushes as Lifetime burnout is replaced with the optimism of a new year. And, let’s be honest, I need at least one practice review to get back in the swing of things before Untouchable comes out. I mean, have you seen this?

That is obviously the highest priority. But Sexting in Suburbia wasn’t bad either!

Dina is walking down the halls of her high school. People are staring and pointing and laughing. I suspect bullying! Dina opens her locker and a bunch of condoms fall out. Totally burnt, Dina. A boy, probably an ex-boyfriend, offer to help her clean up the prophylactic avalanche, but he is rebuffed. Dina storms off.

Hey, Dina. Why did you open your locker? Was it just to have condoms spill out and then put them back? Because you clearly didn’t put anything in or take anything out of your locker. So why open it in the first place, right?

Dina goes home, emo vlogs, and then hangs herself.

What is with these Lifetime movies and the vlogging? NO ONE VLOGS.

So now Dina’s mom, Rachel, must get to the bottom of this horrible tragedy. Clearly everyone is to blame for her daughter’s suicide except for her daughter. No lead will go unfollowed, no sext will go unanswered for!

The trail gets hot when Dina’s field hockey friend tells Rachel to check Dina’s phone for scandalous evidence. (“Most dirty laundry is offered up for public consumption” ~No high schooler, ever.) Rachel finds a sext.

We flashback to homecoming. Dina is looking fine and tonight’s the night she gives her virginity to that dude from earlier, Mark. Except Dina has second thoughts. She just isn’t ready! So she skips the afterparty. Mark is clearly upset at losing out on nookie and not even getting an apology beej, so Dina tries to keep things spicy by sending him a naked photo. Via text! A “sext,” if you will. Mark doesn’t really need the pick-me-up since he is knee high in high school poon when Dina sends the photo.

Haha, Mark looks tiny

From a filing standpoint, this is a disaster. The movie hits the first commercial when Mark starts boning Dina’s rival, Skylar. But the first scene back from commercial is the sext. That’s the more dramatic scene! That needs to be pre-commercial. And then after the sext there is a fade out! Implying a commercial break! Did the good people at Activia Yogurt not want to wait an extra 90 seconds for their product placement? Ugh. Come on, Lifetime editors. Get it together.

Obviously the sext “goes viral” the very next day. Dina’s life is ruined.

Rachel is going on a witch hunt. The school administrators won’t help her look at everyone’s Facebook accounts and texts out of “privacy concerns” so she writes an op-ed that gets published on the front page of their podunk newspaper. The community needs to act. Since Dina sent her sext to Mark and only to Mark, he is arrested on suspicion of child pornography distribution.

Skyler is acting like a total B and is being set up as the obvious bad guy. Flashbacks show she was the lead bully in the anti-Dina crusade. She stole Mark, took the field hockey captaincy from Dina, and she had access to the sext since Mark received it when his penis was inside of her vagina. Motive and opportunity!

Rachel is the subject of some neighborhood terrorism after her op-ed and Mark’s arrest. Dina’s grave is vandalised (Dina Van Slut! Ya burnt!) and someone put a bunch of pictures of a noose in her mailbox. Things culminate when someone throws a brick through her window. (The brick throw is supposed to be surprising. It is telegraphed from a mile away by the camera angle. Another poor job of editing and composition.)

Mark and Rachel have a tete-a-tete and they both think that Skyler was responsible. Rachel just happens to be besties with Skyler’s mom so she goes in for the confrontation. Skyler denies any wrongdoing and the moms hug it out. But then Rachel finds evidence of the vandalism and intimidation stuff in Skyler’s bathroom! Skyler later admits to sending the text to one person, a mutual friend, Claire. Skyler’s mom points out that she didn’t tie Dina’s noose so not to worry.

Rachel asks the police to drop the child pornography charges on Mark (something she has no right to do, obviously) and prosecute Skyler instead. The police, and I have no idea how they did this without violating the Fourth Amendment, show Rachel evidence that the text “went viral” when Claire sent it to 40 classmates.

Rachel speeds home and finds Claire inside Dina’s room (?) watching some vlogs (??). Claire apologizes for ruining Dina’s life. But not for sending the texts. Wait, huh? It turns out that Skyler convinced Claire to narc on Dina for her sextapades to their field hockey coach. Dina is cut from the team and loses her field hockey scholarship (ahahah) to her fictional college of choice. That was the final straw for Dina.

Awesomely, when Dina confronts Skyler and Claire about this, Dina grabs Skyler’s field hockey stick and beats her in the face with it. That is the highlight of the movie right there.

Claire tells Rachel that she couldn’t have sent the texts since she lost her phone at homecoming. Who had it? SKYLER’S MOM! Rachel’s bestie sent it out because Dina kept beating out Skyler for all the varsity letters, scholarships, and boyfriends.

But Skyler’s Mom makes one crucial and TOTALLY INEXPLICABLE mistake. She kept a naked Dina pic on her personal phone. Like, as a trophy. Think about how stupid that is. Skyler finds the pic, puts two and two together (this also makes no sense, but whatever), and confronts her mom. Skyler’s Mom comes clean.

Skyler freaks out, storms out of the house, and is texting her mother that she “will never forgive her.” While she’s driving. And you know what that means! BOOM! Head-on collision! Yesssss. What a great throwback to the mid-90’s Lifetime playbook. So good.

Rachel confronts Skyler’s mom in the hospital. Skyler won’t walk again. There goes that field hockey scholarship! Then Rachel goes home to watch Dina vlog in happier times. Claire starts a movement with Mark to ban cell phones for the rest of the semester. Right, because it was the cell phone’s fault.

AWESOMENESS: 16

The movie was so delightfully stupid and over-the-top. The editing was bad to the point of distracting, but, hey, it’s Lifetime. And I love it when a movie about one thing also takes the time to use melodramatic tragedy to teach you about another thing. Like in When Friendship Kills, a movie about anorexia where one character drinks and gets hit by a car. Sexting is bad, but texting while driving is also bad! So many lessons!

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 1

All newcomers here. Rachel was played by Liz Vassey who was Captain Liberty in The Tick. I guess she was in Dr. Horrible too, but, and I apologize in advance, I thought Dr. Horrible sucked.

LIFETIMENESS: 9

You read the review, yes? This is some pretty Lifetimey stuff. Had to take one negative point because Mark and Skyler get a pass for having sex in high school. No one gets mad. No one gets pregnant. It’s a welcome change, but it’s a clear deviation from the Lifetime formula.

GRAND TOTAL: 26

This review was all foreplay for the Rob Lowe awesomeness premiering this Saturday, but it was pretty good foreplay. It will be re-airing Saturday, January 28 at 6pm eastern. Set your DVRs accordingly.