Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Sugarbabies!
Why Was I Watching It?
The main reason, of course, is that it was on Lifetime. But beyond that, I was watching the film because I was genuinely curious to see how Sugarbabies could possibly be any different from Sugar Daddies and Babysitter’s Black Book.
What Was It About?
It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect. Katie (Alyson Stoner) wants to go to an expensive university and study art history but her bald father is kind of a jerk and her family is supposed to be so poor, despite the fact that they live in a huge house. Once Katie enrolls in school, she discovers how expensive an education can be.
Fortunately, her friend (Tira Skovbye) has a suggestion. All Katie has to do is join a website called Sugarbabies. (It’s always the internet’s fault.) Wealthy businessmen pay her for her companionship. Soon, Katie is spending all of her time with the wealthy James (Giles Paton) while ignoring Sean (Keenan Tracy), another student who has a crush on her. (Sean doesn’t help himself, however, when he gets drunk and throws up on her shoes. Seriously — ewwwww!) However, when Katie starts to get too serious about their “realtionship,” James stops paying Katie and Katie is forced to look for a new sugar daddy.
Meanwhile, Katie’s other friend, Rochelle (Sarah Dugdale) has a similar arrangement with a much older (but surprisingly nice) businessman (Ken Camroux-Taylor). Will Rochelle be able to secure her financial future before her sugar daddy dies of the heart attack that everyone will see coming from a mile away?
And, while all of this is going on, how is Katie going to explain to her parents where all of her new money is coming from?
And will all of the characters in the film ever realize how silly they all sound every time they use the term “sugar baby” in a sentence?
This was a fairly good example of a “Let’s see what everyone’s wearing and where they live!” type of Lifetime movie. The clothes, the offices, and the apartments were all to die for.
(Plus, seeing what everyone was wearing provided a nice distraction from the rather predictable storyline.)
Among the supporting cast, Ken Camroux-Taylor gave a good and sympathetic performance as a lonely businessman. He wasn’t in many scenes but he took full advantage of every minute of screen time that he got.
What Did Not Work?
Ultimately, Sugarbabies just could not escape the twin shadows of Sugar Daddies and Baby Sitter’s Black Book. Sugarbabies was alright but it was just never as much fun as Sugar Daddies, nor did it have the subtle hints of existential crisis that distinguished Baby Sitter’s Black Book.
Add to that, Katie was not exactly the most sympathetic of protagonists. She came across as being rather bland and judgmental. If you’re going to embrace the Lifetime version of what it is to be bad, at least have fun while you’re doing so. What you should not do is be like Katie and spend the entire movie wandering around with the same glum expression on your face, angry that you’re actually going to be able to get an education.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
Rochelle had red hair and liked to wear black lingerie. OH MY GOD, JUST LIKE ME!
One thing that definitely did NOT make me go, “Oh my God! Just like me!” was the film’s depiction of what it was like to an art history major. We only saw Katie attend one art class and it was taught in a lecture hall that was always half-empty. Whenever the film wanted to remind us that Katie was supposed to be a design genius, it would have her either say that she needed to go work on her term paper or else have her look at a nondescript piece of furniture, get excited, and say, “Oh, I love pieces from that period!”
(That’s the equivalent of having a character look at a painting and say, “Look what the artist does with color here.” It may sound good to people who don’t know any better but for those of us who actually studied art, comments like that are the sure sign of someone with no idea what he or she is actually trying to say.)
Speaking as someone who majored in art history (and who is proud of her degree, regardless of what the President says about it), I really wish I had gone to Katie’s college because it appears to be home to the easiest art history program in the North America! Seriously, I could have saved myself a lot of time that was spent studying.
Never turn down a handout. And if you do turn down a handout, you lose the right to then start whining about how you don’t have any money.