It’s been about 12 years since I sat down to watch a Lifetime movie (and maybe a basic cable channel). When my family finally got Comcast while I was in high school, I consumed them like soap operas—my favorite movies Girls fightwith Anne Heche, and Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleading Scandal, I strongly believe that Harmony Korine chose Ashley Benson as the lead spring breakers. As an adult, however, the reality genre has satisfied my appetite for melodramatic television. Still, it makes sense that the only thing that could lure me back to this ridiculous channel is a cast member of Vanderpump Rules.
After an excellent first three weeks at ABC Dancing with the starsAriana Madix stars in Lifetime’s latest thriller Buy back my daughter, which airs tonight. This may be my favorite “revenge” opportunity that Madix has had after Scandoval – even if she plays a policewoman, unfortunately named Officer Karen. I’m also currently loving the comparison of Madix and Tom Sandoval’s individual TV projects. While Sandoval on Fox’s climbs mountains in sub-freezing temperatures Special forces and be deleted The Masked SingerMadix gets to cosplay alongside an Olivia-Benson star Free us from Eve. (However, Meagan Good lost some cool points for her recent role as Jonathan Major’s girlfriend.)
Anyone worried about seeing Madix in a cop uniform should know that this is an extremely ACAB film. In fact, she has nothing to do with Olivia at all Law & Order: SVU because she and her fellow officer are absolutely no help to Good’s character Dana after her daughter Alicia (Faith Wright) disappears. Dana’s husband Curtis (Roger Cross) and their youngest daughter Cadence (Biance Lawrence) are also strangely unconcerned about Alicia’s disappearance and become increasingly annoyed that she cares so much?? It’s actually funny. Whatever the case, the issue of Black girls and women being neglected by the criminal justice system and media is apparently something the network is interested in. Earlier this year, Bravolebrity actress-turned Garcelle Beauvais starred Black girl missing with almost exactly the same premise.
Likewise, as the title suggests, the heroine of the film has to embark on her own mission to rescue her daughter after she is kidnapped. While trying to walk home after sneaking out of the house, Alicia is lured into a truck by a seemingly friendly woman. Predictably, it ended with her drugging Alicia and taking her back to a run-down house, where a creepy man informs her that she now works for his escort service.
In that moment, I forgot how effective Lifetime movies are at unlocking the deepest, untapped fears. Watching Alicia get kidnapped – even if the direction of the scenes is kind of ridiculous – is perhaps the most frightening thing I’ve seen in a long time. I couldn’t help but think of all the times a stranger, specifically a woman, offered me a ride. I’ve always known never to get into a man’s car because of the obvious risks. But I didn’t grow up with much knowledge about sex trafficking and the ways in which female victims are used to recruit other women.
Luckily, the sight of Madix’s face in this very dark film was able to comfort me. Again, the cops are obviously not helpful, but something about Madix delivering her first lines (“two creams, one sugar”) made me feel safe.
This isn’t a starring role by any means, but she makes the most of it. It’s not just that Madix is good for someone who doesn’t play that much. (Although she would quickly remind you that she was a member of the LA sketch comedy scene and takes it very seriously.) Her composure and dry way of speaking – everything the viewers say makes her the most boring actress in the series Vanderpump Rules– actually contribute to her having a very natural screen presence. I’m sure she could handle any of Dakota Johnson’s roles with ease.
While Madix probably took this role impulsively, as Scandoval offered a lot of unique opportunities, I’m curious to see if she plans to go full-throttle into acting. She wouldn’t be the first reality star to move to Hollywood. (Shoutout to Jamie Chung.) However, her name and face will forever be associated with the trashiest of trash reality shows and a major but largely inconsequential “controversy” that could potentially distract viewers – like my inappropriate one An annoying police officer shows affection towards her during her game.
But who cares? If someone like Pete Davidson, whose dating life is more memorable than anything he’s ever done on screen, can get endless acting gigs, then so can Madix. Gift the Bravo star her Florida set Bupkis already.
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