Lifetime Film Review: The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate (dir by Mark Gantt)


So, put yourself in this situation.

You’re an aspiring writer, which is a really nice way of saying that you don’t have much money.  Because you haven’t paid your rent in four months, you’ve just gotten kicked out of your apartment.  As bad as that is, you can take some comfort from the fact that your incredibly hot boyfriend owns a really nice and really big apartment and he probably won’t have any issue with letting you live there.  I mean, he’s always eager for you to sleep over so why not just move in?  So, you head over to his place to give him the news and….

….some blonde that you’ve never seen before opens the door and asks you who you are!

Okay, now you’re in trouble.  Not only do you not have an apartment but you also don’t have a boyfriend.  You have no money and you have no family to fall back on.  While many writers wrote some of their best work while living in boxcars and drifting across the country, you’re not sure that’s what you want to do with the next few years of your life.  So, you get on social media and you let the world know that you need a job.  ANY JOB!

That’s what happens to Olivia (Carrie Wampler), the character at the center of The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate.  It all happens during the first 10 minutes or so of this movie and it does make Olivia into an instantly likable character.  There’s no way that you can’t sympathize with her because everything that could go wrong in her life has gone wrong in just the course of a few hours.  When Olivia is contacted by Cassidy (Jordyn Aurora Aquino) and told that there is a job opportunity for her but that it requires Olivia to be discreet, you can’t blame Olivia for jumping at the opportunity.  What else is Olivia going to do?  Starve?

It turns out that Cassidy works for Ava (Brianne Davis) and Hayden (Carl Beukes) von Richter, a celebrity couple who, after Ava’s last few films flopped at the box office, are now mostly famous for being famous.  Ava and Hayden hire Olivia to act as a surrogate to carry their child.  Olivia will get $150,000 once the baby is born and she’ll get to stay at Ava and Hayden’s fabulous mansion.  The main conditions seem reasonable: Olivia will have to be discreet and she’ll also have to stay healthy and be regularly checked out by Ava’s army of doctors.  Olivia agrees.

And, at first, everything seems okay.  Ava and Hayden are charming, even if Ava is a bit high-strung and Hayden often seems like he’s lost in thought.  Olivia bonds with Cassidy and chef Peter (Kenneth Miller).  Ava can be demanding but that makes sense and …. wait, a minute, did Ava just do cocaine in a public restaurant?   And what exactly is Hayden doing with that hypodermic needle?

Needless to say, Ava and Hayden are not as perfect as they initially seem and Olivia soon starts to have doubts about whether or not they should even be parents.  Hayden, especially, seems to get creepier (and more and more gropey) with each passing day.  Soon, that fabulous mansion starts to feel like a prison and Olivia comes to realize that her employers are even more dangerous than she originally suspected….

The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate is a film that’s very much of the moment.  We live in a society that is obsessed with celebrities, even faded ones like Ava and Hayden.  We also live in a world where ordinary people — like Olivia — can actually connect with celebrities via social media.  At the same time, though people may not always be quick to admit it, we all secretly suspect that most celebrities are actually crazy and probably have a dungeon underneath their mansion.  Even our favorites are often suspected of harboring dark secrets, as seen by the eagerness of the twitter mob to cancel their former heroes.  As such, we can all relate to Olivia’s willingness to be a part of Ava and Hayden’s seemingly glamorous life while, at the time, Ava and Hayden’s “quirks” serve to confirm what we’ve always suspected about what goes on behind closed doors in Beverly Hills and on Park Avenue.

The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate strikes a good balance between thriller and satire.  It embraces the melodrama while also retaining enough self-awarness to be fun.  Brianne Davis and Carl Beukes are both entertainingly sleazy as the celebrity couple from Hell while Carrie Wampler is sympathetic and likable in the role of Olivia.  This is an entertaining Lifetime movie that will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever looked at a celebrity tweet and thought to themselves, “What a weirdo.”

2 responses to “Lifetime Film Review: The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate (dir by Mark Gantt)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 9/14/20 — 9/20/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 9/21/20 — 9/27/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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