Anthropologist Buries Rather than Digs Up
When Emily (Dani Kind) messes up and fails to register for a class she asks her mother, Dawna (Michelle Stafford), if she can swing things for her at the University using her connections. So Dawna asks her old friend, John (William R. Moses - The Perfect Marriage), if he can help, which he does by putting Emily in his class which leads to them having a secret affair. But when Emily goes missing it is John who Dawna calls upon to help with trying to find her missing daughter.
First up let me point out the importance of the comma in this movie's title because there is another movie "Like Mother Like Daughter", notice the missing comma, but that movie is a sexploitation movie from the late 60s. Secondly "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is one of those made for TV movies where it takes some familiar story ideas and shakes them up to create a new but ultimately familiar storyline. What that means is that it's not bad yet at the same time "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is not exactly original and suffers from that nagging sense of familiarity.
Now "Like Mother, Like Daughter" starts on a dark night as we see a man digging a hole in the middle of the woods before dumping a body in it. That would be fine if it wasn't for the annoying fact it reveals that John is the man disposing of the body. Then in typical made for TV movie fashion it leaps back 3 weeks so that we can work our way to that point and then beyond, but by revealing John is burying a body spoilt things for me straight off.
In truth "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is a movie which plays more on the situations which develop from John being the one Dawna calls on to help in finding her missing daughter to the build up with Dawna actually having a thing for John but completely oblivious to the affair going on between him and her daughter. But there is no real atmosphere to this or at least no atmosphere which stands out to make what unravels before our eyes to be exciting.
But we also have the lack of subtlety as it puts everything in place from Emily finishing with her waster boyfriend, who of course will be a major suspect, to the whole flirtation between Emily and John before they end up in the sack. I could go on but "Like Mother, Like Daughter" features all the usual unsubtle issues which dominate these modern made for TV movies. The one thing different is a twist on John's character and something about his past which we quickly become aware of, an element of supernatural which you will either embrace or find cheesy.
But like so many of these modern made for TV thrillers "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is watchable thanks to a clean look and a reasonable cast. William R. Moses is well chosen as John because he has the good looking charmer bit down but he also manages to deliver a slight ominous side to his character which makes us wonder what he will do. Aside from Moses both Michelle Stafford and Dani Kind are easy on the eye which might sound derogatory but their characters are sadly generic with very little depth to them.
What this all boils down to is that "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is just a generic made for TV thriller with a clean look, good cast but very little atmosphere and the usual flaws which fill this genre.