After really enjoying a bunch of Lifetime movies a few weeks ago, my luck on the DVR ran out and I hit a dry spell. But if any movie based on title alone was going to be awesome, “Sugar Daddies” was it. With fingers crossed, I settled in and sure enough, it did not disappoint.
The movie begins with the lead’s voiceover expositing that she is pre-law, so you know she’s not a bimbo, but we’re also seeing into the future as she is clearly a hooker of some nature, though getting into an SUV and not a limo.
After getting a beer spilled on her, the lead walks into the bathroom where her roommate conveniently is too, also clearly a hooker of some nature and putting on even MORE makeup. Oh I should mention that the lead doesn’t wear makeup, to continue setting her apart as Still Pure. Her roommate looks so distractingly like Baylor from “Survivor” that I have to go check the IMDB, but it’s not Baylor.
Speaking of confusing looking, the lead is beautiful but also looks like a cross between Holly J. from “Degrassi” and Mischa Barton, and just when my brain finally begins to accept her as one complete and unique person, she randomly looks like Miranda Lambert.
Anyway, character establishment some more, as we see roommate is footloose and fancy free, while the lead is duteous and won’t go to roommate’s hooker party with her 82-year-old date. She does have a boyfriend who shows up so they can make out (because that is what happens when you’re the only waitress and it’s slammed). I’m going to save myself the trouble of recapping much else about the boyfriend, whose entire character can be summed up thusly: Not An Old Man.
Kara! That’s her name, the lead. Kara gets fired, not for making out during a busy shift, but because they hired too many people. So when Kara gets offered a summer internship at the non-profit “Women’s Law Shelter” (Love it), her excitement quickly turns to disappointment when she finds out it doesn’t pay.
Dorm room scene where we find out that her roommate (Shawna) has super expensive dresses and Kara goes to college in the early ‘90s because she is sitting at her desk writing longhand whilst wearing a denim shirt. Shawna evangelizes her lifestyle and tells Kara that life doesn’t have to be so hard.
(*Side note: I saw a college girl in on “Billy on the Street” before and not only was she wearing a denim shirt, but it was sleeveless! Welcome back, 1993 — feels like just yesterday <3 )
Roommate and Kara walk into a lounge A song plays ominously in the background as Kara realizes she’s in over her head, and gazes in horror at what looks like the weirdest sorority party ever.
Shawna meets up with the older man from before and is all “Hey my friend would like to ‘meet someone.’” Kara’s like nuh-uh and Roommate chides her for being rude. She counters that these men are way classier than the frat douches at school. This scene would almost make it seem like “Maybe she has a point,” except it’s all so hilariously predatory from the get-go that there is no room for devil’s advocacy!
Especially when a man comes up (Grant), talking like Mel Silver mixed with the Pathmark man from “Poltergeist.” He is accompanied by a bodyguard. Grant charmingly proceeds to call Kara uptight for not wanting to sleep with a man older than her father for money.
Speaking of Kara’s dad, we find out that he has 80K in medical bills from a car accident that insurance won’t cover. Maybe I can fix this by becoming a hooker, you see Kara thinking.
But then okay, so after the mom’s all, “We’re going to lose the house maybe,” Kara offers to move home and her mom says “No you’ve worked so hard,” and I don’t understand why Kara can’t continue to work hard while also living off-campus, and THEN her dad comes home and we find out that he’s just been able to go back to work as a mechanic and finally after many years, he’s restored a Corvette, which will be Kara’s graduation present after she finishes law school.
First of all, she’s still PRE-law, so we’re talking a long time from now and while you can’t necessarily predict that your straight-laced daughter is going to choose prostitution as the next logical step, wouldn’t it at least make sense to sell the Corvette and help everyone now?
Anyway, Kara’s mad when Grant calls her. Shawna gave him her number because Grant is the “sugar daddy jackpot.” Other girls would kill to be with him. Shawna says she and her sugar daddy have a mutually beneficial relationship; sex in the dark is no big deal, and she gets “lots and LOTS” of money which is all well and good, but may I then ask why she is living with a roommate in the dorms if she has so much money?
Cut to Kara in a white lace dress (because she’s still innocent) taking Grant’s arm, as he leads her onto a plane so they can go to dinner in San Francisco, where he feeds her champagne and caviar (RIP Baldwin restaurant), and they have a long conversation where we find out again, some more, that she needs money and he offers her $5,000 a month to be his lady, and doesn’t care that she has a boyfriend.
I guess the early ‘90s are just back in, between Kara’s denim shirt and now her and Shawna’s outfits.
Oh right, there’s this ongoing theme of ethics and morality in Kara’s law class to underscore all the deepness. Meanwhile, she flashes back to the scene we just saw three minutes ago of her date with Grant and in the next, we see her get in the SUV from the first scene as she goes inside for an interminable exchange where it’s established over and over that she is unsure and he is not going to ask her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Then they have sex in slow motion and he hands her a check.
Shawna, Lea, and Kara discuss their sugar daddies. Lea’s is mean and into role play and she’s very jealous that Grant is so nice.
Kara and her parents eat outside. She lies about her job going well and they hand her a check for $200, which she gives back to them and really once again, I’m not feeling the economical urgency of Kara’s situation as they sit around in their cool dining area outside their house and play hot potato with checks. Because also, I’m the first person to never want to say goodbye to houses, but Kara has no siblings. Is it really that awful for them to downsize? But mainly this scene exists for us to learn that Kara no longer uses her GPS, because she’s not a little girl anymore.
Kara’s car won’t start, because the one her dad’s bothered to fix is at home waiting in the garage for God knows how long. Grant tells her to cancel her plans for tonight, and speak of the devil, her (young) boyfriend shows up to jump her car; then she does as she’s told and bows out of tonight’s movie plans, blaming her need to study.
Kara’s back at Grant’s and I have to say that the whole thing is very confusing, like some of the time it seems like she is falling in a way for him. Sometimes every other face she makes looks terrified and revolted. Then there are times like now, when she seems like a stone-cold taker who has no qualms about pretending to really like this guy. He says he’ll pay her dad’s medical bills (which you might have forgotten because it’s been 30 seconds, are 80,000 dollars) and gives her expensive earrings. Then he takes off her dress.
Peter the Bodyguard drives Kara home and scoffs at her earrings and she says he sounds jealous and he drives away in a menacing manner. Meanwhile Lea stumbles up and delivers a drunken/drugged-out speech about how tonight she played dirty flight attendant and she’s jealous of Kara and Grant again, some more. Then she does that TV/movie thing where she can barely talk or walk, but doesn’t fall down in her stiletto heels.
Justin the not-old boyfriend shows up to try and have sex, but Kara’s “tired,” and when he notices her new earrings, she lies that she borrowed them from Shawna. He’s suspicious and asks, “To study?” But agrees to hang out the next day.
Instead the next day, Kara is having sex with Grant in the backseat of the SUV while Peter watches from the rearview mirror. Justin goes looking for her and asks Shawna about the earrings and she is like “What earrings?” since she and Lea clearly hate Kara.
Kara gets back to the dorm, where Justin is waiting and confronts her. “Just tell me it’s not one of those sugar daddies,” he implores her, but Kara’s eyes say it all, and he leaves.
Kara and Shawna walk through campus while Shawna shows off her fancy new bracelet by walking in leather…shorts with her arm extended. Kara calls Shawna on selling her out with Justin. Shawna continues to walk with her arm extended and Kara is horrified to realize Shawna’s out to be a trophy wife to a sugar daddy.
Grant takes Kara to his house and gives her a new car. Then they have sex and pillow talk about his age (this is one of the times she seems to really like him), then kinkiness. She likes chocolate syrup and he likes to be choked. This is when things start to take a turn, as it dawns on Kara that no, she probably isn’t going to get $5,000 a month and spontaneous plane trips and cars and medical bills paid for because of her vague charm and halfhearted sex. He shows her a check for $100,000 for her father. But he doesn’t give it to her; it’s for IF she does what he wants next time.
Kara drives home as she flashes back to a scene from just before with her mom talking about selling the house, like this is the deciding factor and seriously why? Then she flashes back to literally the last scene, before slamming into the back of a stopped car, due to being distracted.
Speaking of the house, Kara’s there now to saddle her dad with fixing her newly smashed car. Then she hands him a card because they’re celebrating his 50th birthday, at which his birthday speech, like most other things in this movie’s universe, is All About Kara. And for some reason, the dad has a beer bottle, but everyone else has a Solo cup.
Kara ignores multiple calls from Grant and it’s like at least turn your super-loud ringer off, GEEZ. Finally her uber-patient mom gets annoyed, so Kara answers but refuses to leave her dad’s party for him, despite his insistence.
Lea asks Kara for money until she finds her “next daddy.” Kara for some reason relents even though Lea seems perfectly capable of at least attempting to I don’t know, get a job, and says she’ll give her those earrings so she can sell them.
Kara’s dad works on her car, then notices the registration made out to Grant. Warning bells go off, and he looks for her at the restaurant where Kara used to work. Her boss says they let her go a few weeks ago.
Kara shows up at Grant’s and after many dates of ingenue blue and virginal white dresses, she’s finally given up the ghost and is wearing all red. If we’re not going to get even the vaguest allusions as to character motivation, I appreciate the costume imagery. She says sorry, and he says since you won’t choke me, you better come to events from now on.
Kara’s dad is at Grant’s house and super pissed. Kara on the other hand seems to love her dad so much that she is willing to be a hooker for him, but not enough to muster up a reaction to his horror at the situation. She refuses to leave with him, and he punches Grant in the face.
Then she hurts his feelings by calling Grant the most generous man she’s ever met. She follows him to his car in her stiletto heels apologizing, but he peels away. Then she goes back inside Grant’s house and he’s upset about all the drama, says this is not going to be “a love affair,” and his nose goes from pouring copious amounts of blood one moment to being just fine the next.
He breaks up with her; she asks what about the check, and he tears it up and throws it on the ground.
So after fixing what he thought was his daughter’s car that she now needs to give back to Grant, Kara’s dad SMASHES the window of the car in and I get that you’re mad dude, but why would you do that? Either she has to pay for it and where do you think she’s getting the extra $$$, or he’s going to hurt her for the offense! And speaking of hurt, way to risk your daughter sitting on glass. She just apologized and I don’t blame you for not accepting that or being angry, but come on now.
Oh boy. So that professor who offered Kara the internship tells her sawry sawry, they changed their minds and you think omg, Grant’s not just going to mess with her bank account or emotions; he’s going to mess with her life, and used his power to take this from her. But no, it’s just another filler scene to show us…something about Kara’s inner workings.
I guess this time it’s to show how much she’s lost, as we get more flashbacks to things that just happened, as she fights with her dad, then Justin, then Grant. Shawna shows up to be useless as usz, and the movie — say it with me — reminds us that Kara’s family is “broke” and what is Shawna going to do; she used all her money on fall tuition (i.e., not a bit of student loan debt and guaranteed classes for the next several months), but “dorm fees are due.” And I just can’t even right now, as Shawna encourages her to go make Grant feel needed and get him back.
Kara does that and says she will do anything to prove how much she misses and needs him. Because, dorm fees. And he tells her she can prove it by bringing Lea back to his place for a threesome. Kara even at this point in the movie has the gall to look put off; I mean, as far as these things go, a threesome is pretty freaking tame on the scale of things she’s been up to lately.
They all end up back at his place, where he conveniently excuses himself to the bedroom and tells them to help themselves to drinks. Kara says she can’t do this and Lea says yes you can because Lea is desperate for another “daddy” and has always wanted Grant. She gives Kara a pill to help her through it.
Then it is pretty much the same scene as the aborted threesome in “Faking It,” in terms of choreography and time frame, if not emotionally. Kara runs out of the room and vomits while Lea tells Grant she’ll do anything. Obvi, he has her choke him, but then he chokes her…to death by accident.
Kara comes out of the bathroom to find Lea’s body and runs out screaming. Then she comes back and Lea’s gone! Grant says she was just drunk and Peter called her a cab.
Kara tells Shawna btw I think Lea’s dead and Shawna doesn’t believe her after Kara said she took “the drugs” Lea gave her. We flash back and forth between Kara finding some kind of evidence by the looks of it, and Grant losing his mind and screaming a lot back at home. Then out of nowhere there is a scene of Kara’s mom encouraging Kara’s dad to forgive her.
Grant and Peter fetch Kara in broad daylight so that Grant can try and bribe Kara into silence. As she looks at the check, she notices the earring she gave Lea on the ground by her foot! How could that be if she went straight from the threesome to the cab?
And even in this 11th hour Kara manages to do the dumbest thing possible, as she remains in the car of someone she knows is likely a killer, driven by someone who you can just tell is a killer in the first place. JUST SMILE AND TAKE THE CHECK AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THE CAR!!! Instead she takes the earring from the floor and promises to call him. Grant punches the seat after she leaves and says “She knows” and it’s made clear that Peter’s going to kill Kara to cover their tracks.
I’d really like to know what the entrance standards are to this supposedly expensive college because as dumb as Kara is, Shawna is aggressively dumber. They saunter around campus and she continues to not believe anything is wrong.
Remember that GPS that went off in the first act? Well it’s gone on in the third, much to Kara’s dad’s surprise. He calls and she’s doing what anyone would be doing in her position: walking alone on a dark street, now while talking on a cell phone. Sure ‘nuff, Peter snatches her and Kara’s dad reacts with the urgency of a stoned person who’s forgotten why he walked into a room.
Kara’s bound and gagged and getting thrown into a trunk. Peter drives; Kara’s dad gives chase; Grant drinks, and once at the destination (the usual warehouse where these scenes tend to take place), Kara manages to unbind herself, then kicks Peter when he opens the trunk!
It’s enough to buy some time for her dad as she hides in the warehouse, but Peter eventually catches her, then forces her to tie a tube around her arm. Luckily her dad gets there right before she has to shoot up, and then there is the usual scene you get in every last 10 minutes of most LMNs. In this version, Kara defeats Peter by smashing him in the head with a pipe.
And then they do what ALSO happens in these movies, which is treat a murderer like he’s dead without knowing. Kara and her dad hug; no one grabs Peter’s weapon, and then Kara answers Peter’s phone, letting Grant know while they’re still in the warehouse and Peter is possibly still alive that his plan was foiled.
Grant gets ready to flee the country in his plane, obviously half expecting this moment for awhile. But the jig is up, and here are the police! But they sort of let him stand around uncuffed so that he and Kara can exchange a meaningful glance that is just as confusing as the rest of their relationship has been.
Sunny day, obviously sometime in the future. Kara’s dad, believe it or not, is working on a car. The mom watches with approval from the door, and Kara’s dad lets her take the Corvette for a ride.
“I learned a lot in my last year of college. No matter how badly you want something, or how ambitious you are, there are some things? That just aren’t worth it,” Kara VOs, making it clear that her college education clearly paid off.
~ THE END ~