The Pitch: Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a hooker with a heart of gold.
The Plot: Inspired by a true story, this Lifetime Original Movie tells the tale of Samantha Horton (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a former Texas homecoming queen and physical therapist who — in order to keep her family clothed, fed and sheltered — has no choice but to take a job at a massage studio in a nearby town. Unfortunately for Sam (and somewhat fortunate for those in the audience who enjoy watching actress Jennifer Love Hewitt traipse around in really skimpy outfits), the ideal job turns out to be a little less so when our heroine discovers that a little more than simply massage goes on at the nondescript studio located in a strip mall (Sacre bleu!). Suffice to say, after quickly realizing that it “beats the hell out of waitressin’,” it doesn’t take Sam long to succumb to the world’s oldest profession. Particularly upon discovering that as a result of her photographic memory and gift for gab, she’s quite adept at making lonely men part with money. Lots of money! Allowing for the family to keep the house, son Brady to play football and her overbearing mother (played by Lifetime staple) Cybill Shepherd to cut her a little slack.
The Good: In the celebrated tradition of CO-ED CALL GIRL, BABY MONITOR: SOUND OF FEAR and our personal favorite, Tori Spellings’ 1986 classic MOTHER MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER, THE CLIENT LIST has all the trappings of a classic Lifetime Original Movie. As advertised, Samantha Horton’s willingness “to do anything for her family,” gives Hewitt (who also executive produced the movie) a juicy opportunity to leave everything on the floor (both literally and figuratively) and really throw herself into the role.
The Bad: It wouldn’t be a “Lifetime Original Movie” without a valuable life lesson (or two!). Which is why rather than simply work until she has enough money to get herself and her family back on their feet, Sam — who naturally gets a little too used to the lifestyle her new job affords her — turns to drugs, specifically cocaine, in an effort to juggle her ever-expanding list of gentleman callers with her duties as wife and mother. Which brings us to…
The Verdict: Despite a somewhat preachy and predictable second half chronicling Sam’s inevitable fall from grace following a police raid, arrest, and scorn of an entire small Texas town that comes when the cat is let out of the proverbial bag as to how she made those last few mortgage payments, THE CLIENT LIST most assuredly makes our list as one of the summer’s guiltiest pleasures.
THE CLIENT LIST airs on LIFETIME Monday July 19th at 9PM