Not Quite Bored to Death
Photographer and journalist Mel Dempsey (Alicia Coppola) becomes suspicious of Olivia Whitfield (Elizabeth Berkley - Student Seduction), her best friend Danny's (Randall Batinkoff) latest girlfriend, when she sees her arguing with a shady look man in a back alley. With the aid of office assistant Finn (Adriana DeMeo) and computer geek Henry (Jeremy Howard - Sydney White), Mel tries to uncover the truth about Olivia and what she is up to, but the more she digs around the more Olivia turns Danny against her.
"Black Widow" is the sort of TV movie that if you are in an easy going mood you night possibly like, well like maybe a bit strong be amused by would be more apt. But trust me if you are not in the right mood "Black Widow" is one of those made for TV movies which is open to ridicule from a weak storyline, unimaginative direction and Elizabeth Berkley's plunging neckline all being ample distractions. I suppose in a way that makes it really just another run of the mill TV thriller full of the regular sorts of scenes, poor characters and not a lot else but I've watched worse.
Routine isn't a bad word so when I say that storyline to "Black Widow" is routine isn't me being nasty, just stating a fact. Me calling it weak would be nasty if it wasn't also true as this little thriller, which technically it is but trust me it isn't very thrilling, is a case of a beginning and an ending and nothing that interesting in between other than routine. We watch as Mel sneaks around in motel rooms looking for information, following people and with the help of Finn and Henry checking licence plates, social security info and so on till eventually she discovers the truth about Olivia. That truth we actually already know or at least it less than subtly suggests something right at the start so that "Black Widow" is a case of waiting for Mel to catch up with what the audience already knows.
Aside from that well the various scenes, from Mel sneaking in motel rooms to being run off the road are all handled in the usual TV movie sort of way so that they aren't really exciting and often look too constructed. And it seems that director Armand Mastroianni or someone in the crew decided the best thing to do was to distract the audience by having Elizabeth Berkley wear a variety of low cut tops to show as much cleavage as possible. It almost works and is about the only memorable thing in the whole of "Black Widow".
In fairness the acting isn't too bad, in fact Alicia Coppola as Mel is easily likeable but not in an overly, falsely nice sort of way, well at least she isn't too perfect which is at least something. And both Adriana DeMeo as Finn and Jeremy Howard as Henry whilst only supporting characters also have likeability going in their favour. As for Elizabeth Berkley as Olivia, well she certainly has the sleek calculated thing going on but at times it borders on being over the top as she nefariously gets her way by turning Danny against Mel.
What this all boils down to is that "Black Widow" is your typically less than thrilling and less than memorable made for TV movie. It is both routine and weak but has some okay performances which end up keeping you watching rather than for what is happening.