I swear, how did I ever make it through college?
That’s a question that I often find myself wondering while watching a Lifetime movie. In the world of Lifetime, college is always prohibitively expensive and families — regardless of how big of a house in which they’re living — always struggle to pay their daughter’s tuition. It seems like, whenever it’s time to head off to college, there’s always either a divorce or a sudden bankruptcy or some other financial calamity designed to destroy idealistic hopes and dreams. Inevitably, the only way to pay for college is by descending into a sordid world of scandal, infidelity, and occasionally even murder.
That’s the situation in which Cassie Talbot (played by Alexandra Beaton) finds herself in The Cheerleader Escort. Cassie’s just started at a good college and her best friend is even her dorm roommate! Even better, she’s just made the school’s renowned cheerleader squad! It all sounds perfect but there’s a problem. Cassie has to figure out a way to pay for all of this. Her parents are divorced and, while her father originally promised to help pay for college, he has since disappeared. Her mother, Karen (Cynthia Preston), says that he might “be gambling again.” Well, he’s just gambled away Cassie’s future because, after Karen’s injured in an auto accident, there’s no way that Cassie’s going to be able to afford tuition!
It turns out that there are wealthy men, most of whom are members of the college’s alumni association, who are more than willing to help the members of the cheerleading squad pay the bills. As long as the cheerleaders agree to “spend some time” with them, they’ll donate all sorts of money. In fact, that was one reason why Cassie was selected for the squad. It was felt that the alumni would react well to her innocent personality and indeed, they do. Soon, Cassie is spending all her time with the older and richer Terry Dunes (Damon Runyan). That doesn’t leave much time for going to her classes but who goes to college just to sit in a boring classroom?
Anyway, it seems like a good arrangement until another member of the squad, Gabby (Joelle Farrow), informs Cassie that she’s pregnant and that the father is another wealthy member of the alumni association. Gabby is super excited about having the baby. The baby’s father is a bit less happy about the prospect. In the real world, this would all probably lead to Dr. Phil doing a prime time special on “Sugar Daddy websites,” but this is a Lifetime movie so, of course, it all leads to murder and scandal.
And thank goodness for that! I mean, seriously, you’re not watching this film because you’re expecting to see a serious examination of why college is so damn expensive or why so many students are graduating with a mountain of debt. You’re watching this film for the drama and, on that front, The Cheerleader Escort delivers. In the grand tradition of previous Lifetime films like Confessions of Go Go Girl and Babysitter’s Black Book, The Cheerleader Escort delivers all of the sordid melodrama that you could hope for.
Really, we don’t ask for a lot when it comes to a movie like this: a little sex, a little melodrama, a nice house, and big drama. The Cheerleader Escort delivers all four.