Flaws and Cliches

Peta Wilson in False Pretenses (2004)

Dianne (Peta Wilson) and her husband Randal (Anthony Lemke) had everything, that is until Randal lost it all when he got conned by Mitchell Thomson (Stewart Bick), an "investment guru", and having lost everything he commits suicide. With nothing left Dianne jumps in her car and heads for California to start over again but ends up stuck in a town in Texas when her car breaks down. With no money to pay for repairs she finds work as a waitress and to give herself a feeling of a new start cuts her red hair short and dies it blonde whilst calling herself Dee Dee. Having befriended the local sheriff, Nando (Conrad Pla) Dee Dee fids herself coming face to face with Mitchell Thomson and without him recognizing her she sets about getting her revenge.

"False Pretenses" is not only a movie which is built upon the staple elements of made for TV movies but actually relies on you being familiar with them so that you end up second guessing yourself, thinking that they must try to elaborate on the usual cliches. As such when Dianne's car breaks down on her way to a new life and she ends up working as a waitress you can already second guess she will not just meet a nice guy and end up falling but she will also fall in love with the place. And that is the sort of cliche which either will make you feel comfortable in the knowledge that "False Pretenses" won't over tax you or will make you groan for being so stereotypical.

Stewart Bick in False Pretenses (2004)

Now because "False Pretenses" is so stereotypical you know two things; one the law won't be able to help too much and two Dianne will try and exact her revenge, in doing so she inevitably puts herself in danger by stringing the conman along. Yes there are some twists along the way and unsurprisingly some major coincidences but there are also some cheesy scenes especially those where Dianne sets about charming and seducing Mitchell Thomson. And sadly those cheesy scenes end up coming across as so manufactured that they stick out like a sore thumb.

What this all boils down to is that "False Pretenses" is just an ordinary made for TV movie and that means it features those usual flaws to go alongside the usual cliches. But for those who watch "False Pretenses" as fans of Peta Wilson might find some fun in this with her turning on some husky voiced charm.

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