Follow us on

Featured DVD Review: Maneater

February 8th, 2010

Maneater - Buy from Amazon

Maneater is a TV mini-series that aired on Lifetime on May 30th and 31st of last year. A Lifetime TV mini-series... How could I pass up a chance to review that? In all seriousness, I am so far away from the target demographic that I hesitated when offered the chance to review the DVD release. That is until I learned it starred Sarah Chalke from Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy, which practically no one south of the border has heard of. Most non-Canadians were introduced to her on Scrubs, where she played Dr. Elliot Reid. That's pretty much all I knew about the movie before the DVD arrived. Sometimes a blank slate like this is the best way to review a movie.

Sarah Chalke stars as Clarissa Alpert, a 32-year old who has lived her whole life off of the generosity of her boyfriends. However, after her latest in a string of one-night stands is less than satisfactory, she decides she needs a change. So she gets together with her three best friends, Gravy (Judy Greer) who has been dating a married man for close to a decade; Polo (Noureen DeWulf) who is a hypochondriac who only dates doctors; and Jennifer (Marla Sokoloff) who has a crush on her handyman, which doesn't sit well with her parents. At least it wouldn't if they knew. Her plan is simple... marry a rich man that can support her. So she starts by booking a hotel. The groom will come later.

That groom is Aaron Mason, the only son of the owners of a Fortune 500 company who recently arrived in L.A. to produce his first movie. Clarissa sets her plan into motion and... well... it works. It works really fast. (It's a three-hour movie, so I was expecting that part of the story to last longer.) However, it is a romantic comedy at its heart, and there are obviously obstacles in the way. For instance, Simon, Clarissa's ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, whether she likes it or not. Additionally, Aaron's movie falls through so they have to live on less, or nothing because his family disowned him and that's not the only secret he has.

I'm of two minds when it comes to this show. On the one hand, I love the cast, and not just Sarah Chalke, but also Marla Sokoloff, whom I've liked since I first saw her in The Practice, as well as Noureen DeWulf, who is a relative newcomer, and Judy Greer, who has been in too many TV shows to mention. However, while these four actresses are great to watch, the script doesn't give them much to work with. Clarissa starts the movie as little more than a gold-digger and the "learning to live on your own" storyline is not original, and there's nothing in the script that makes it stand out. Gravy's pining for a married man is also not original, nor is Jennifer's cross-class romance. (On a side note Polo's character was the least developed.) However, while the story wasn't particularly strong, the actresses were so charming that I found myself more interested than I thought I would be, for the most part. The movie takes a really somber turn right before end, which was a bit jarring compared to its generally light tone. That, and the ending itself felt artificial.

There are no extras on the DVD, but given its running time, it is like getting two movies for the price of one.

The Verdict

Maneater is about a woman trying to trap a rich man in a loveless marriage so she doesn't have to get a job to support herself. That is a loathsome premise. However, thanks to the charming cast, it works better than it should. (And I can't emphasize this enough, the movie only works because of the cast. Without the charm of the four leading ladies, this movie would have been a chore to get through.) Lack of extras hurts the DVD, but it is worth checking out if you missed it on TV and some will consider it enough of a guilty pleasure to buy.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review