Sorority Surrogate Features Lifetime’s New Favorite Character Type, The Evil Grandma

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Lifetime movie Sorority Surrogate March 2014

I need to start this post by revealing that I spent most of the two hours it took to watch the new Lifetime movie Sorority Surrogate giggling to myself. Of course, I had started giggling as soon as I read the plot description. I don't know what it was about this production that really tickled my funny bone, but I'm not complaining. It's the first “so bad it's good” movie the network has aired in ages. It came across like a bunch of robot aliens traveled to earth, watched a few Lifetime movies, and tried their best to make their own. And I loved every second of it, especially the parts with Evil Grandma, Lifetime's new favorite (and with good reason) character type.

We start the movie in a sorority house where a chapter president with a nails-on-a-chalkboard voice is doing her best impression of the Deranged Sorority Girl (good times) and screaming at new pledges for being irresponsible. Our heroine Valerie (Cassie Steele) shows up, and the prez uses her as an example of what Omega Zeta Delta is all about — studying. What a perfect time for Valerie to receive a notice that her financial aid is being discontinued because her drunk father listed her as a dependent and blah blah blah tax stuff I don't understand that might not even be correct. How do I know her father's a drunk? Because she goes to visit him in his hovel and he shows the top signs of being a drunk — sleeping on a mattress on the floor, holding a bottle of booze, and mistaking her for her dead mother.

What extreme measures will Valerie go to in order to pay for school? Since this movie has “surrogate” in the title you'd assume that's the answer, but you never know. Is it prostitution? Bank robbery? A part-time job at Banana Republic? Oh, it's surrogacy? Okay, let's move on then. Valerie hears about the opportunity from her intense law student friend Su (Elena Juatco), who brags about how in demand her eggs were when she sold them. Turns out surrogacy can earn you even more, and the dollar signs that appear where Valerie's eyes used to be signify that she likes the sound of that.

The couple she ends up carrying for are Jameson and Sara. They're very rich, as evidenced by Sara's penchant for cardigans and headbands and also Jameson's mother's Emily Gilmore-esque mansion. That mother is Maureen Darlington (Mimi Kuzyk), a rich bitch and former congresswoman with a younger husband named Charlie (Chris Bruno) who's always lurking in the corner with a glass of scotch. How do I know his name is Charlie? Because Maureen says it every five seconds, and she pronounces it in the most annoying way imaginable. Okay, so I think Claire on Lost might have her beat (Chaaahlie!!!), but Maureen's a close second.

Maureen isn't very fond of Sara because she can't produce an heir and this is apparently 16th century England. She's not happy when Jameson cuts her out of his life, and Charrrlie translates this as: “Get your former PI partner to kill Sara by somehow using an iPad to take control of her car and crash it.” Charrrlie is excellent at following orders he made up himself, so he gets Walter (Matthew Bennett) to do his bidding. But whoops, there's a change of plans and Jameson gets in the car too. So now both of the baby's parents are dead. Charrrlie is not pleased that Walter screwed up, and he lets him know by announcing the fact that he killed someone in the middle of a public park and then grabbing him menacingly by the collar and refusing to pay him the full amount. Walter really wants his money for that cool iPad car crash trick, and he'll be back for it.

Lifetime movie Sorority Surrogate March 2014 2

Maureen's really bummed that her son is gone, but the silver lining is that soon she'll have a new grandchild to control and manipulate. Except whoops, the baby's not supposed to go to her. It's actually supposed to go to Sara's sister and her husband. And surprise! They can't have babies either, so they're super excited about this opportunity. After deciding not to have an abortion because this baby will somehow carry on the life that its parents didn't get to live blah blah blah sponsored by the Duggars, Valerie agrees to carry it for the next of kin. The only way Maureen can have the baby is if they prove the sister and her husband are unfit guardians. Don't worry, Charrrlie's there to take that to mean “frame them for a crime.” So he plants drugs in the husband's car and has him arrested.

So Valerie begrudgingly agrees to give the baby to Maureen. So begins the full Evil Grandma stage. Maureen visits Valerie's sorority house and finds it totally unsuitable for the baby. She gets in the best line of the movie, however, when the chapter president sucks up to her by announcing in her wannabe Elle Woods way, “I'm the chapter president,” and Maureen replies, “Of course you are.” #DEAD. Maureen calls in a tip about the house having bed bugs, which gives her a great excuse to force Valerie to move in with her. Her iron fist progresses from forcing Valerie to eat salads for every meal to handcuffing her to a bed in an unfinished room. Whoa there, Lifetime. You already have your Flowers in the Attic sequel in the works. Slow down.

Valerie's boyfriend Kyle becomes suspicious when she doesn't answer her phone. Kyle is played by Daniel Kelly. If you're a Degrassi fan, reading that probably made you pass out or something, because he starred on the show with Cassie Steele. I never watched that show, but I am excited by the fact that this guy is a walking, talking face mash-up of Logan Lerman and Zac Efron. But back to the plot. Kyle and Su team up with Valerie's ex-convict brother to find her, because young people in Lifetime movies are always looking to reenact Scooby Doo.

Meanwhile, Charrrlie has taken Valerie to a cabin in the woods, Lifetime villains' favorite vacation spot. Valerie immediately demands to use the bathroom, and Charrrlie agrees like a dumbass. Have you never seen a movie, Charrrlie? Needless to say she ends up spraying him in the eyes with air freshener (putting that in my Lifetime lessons file) and escapes to a creepy shed. Charrrlie chases after her with a gun, but surprise! Walter's there, and he wants his money or else he's gonna kill him. They have a fight over the gun and Walter ends up shot dead with Valerie as a witness. What a perfect time for Maureen to show up and say Charrrlie's name a few more times.

Charrrlie confesses to killing Maureen's son and also her husband, which is a new development. Maureen is not pleased with this news, so she shoots him dead and then almost shoots Valerie too. But Valerie does that thing Lifetime movie heroines are super good at and talks her out of it by mentioning the baby and fresh starts and new beginnings and sunshine and rainbows and happiness. Maureen drops the gun, and just then Valerie's friends arrive. So they ended up being totally useless.

Valerie ends up having the baby and giving it to the sister and her husband, and they all laugh about the fact that the kid looks like Maureen, who is now in prison, according to a casual comment one of them throws out. Oh yeah and Valerie's drunk father shows up for no reason at the end and I guess he's gonna be okay now? Eh, he was only there as a plot device so I guess the writers didn't really know what to do with him after that. The parents ask Valerie to be the baby's godmother. They also name the baby Valerie, and it's like eeek why are you so obsessed with her? And then the movie ended, and so did my laughter. Until next week.

(Images: Lifetime)