Peta Wilson in False Pretenses (2004)

Flaws, Claws and Cliches

Dianne (Peta Wilson - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and her husband Randal (Anthony Lemke - A Deadly Encounter) had everything, that is until Randal lost it all having been conned by Mitchell Thomson (Stewart Bick - Hollywood Wives: The New Generation), 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 only to end up stuck in a Texas town 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, dyes it can starts 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 who she is 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 maybe all the telegraphed cliches are going to turn in to a twist on the usual. 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 for him but she will also fall in love with the town. 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 too 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 but 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 being too manufactured and so 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.