DVD Review: High School Lover

By , Contributor
What possible reason does this total botch-job of a movie, High School Lover, have for existing? The participation of James Franco as both supporting cast member and co-producer, that's what. Otherwise it's hard to even acknowledge it as a piece of entertainment. Having aired on Lifetime earlier this year, High School Lover is now available on DVD. Proceed with extreme caution.

Even hardcore Franco junkies are likely to be sorely disappointed by his limited screen time as Rick Winters, dad of Kelly (Paulina Singer, Dead of Summer). Teenage Kelly becomes involved with 30ish actor and teen heartthrob Christian Booth (Fran├žois Arnaud). "How old are you?" asks Christian, "Wait, don't tell me." Once Rick gets wind of the affair, naturally he tries to shut it down. Both Kelly and Christian are initially defiant. But soon Kelly realizes something is seriously off with the mentally unstable actor and backs away. After an hour of sputtering, High School Lover abruptly shifts into thriller mode as Christian goes psycho. 
 
rsz_high_school_lover_paulina_singer.jpg Written by Amber Coney and Jessica Dube, High School Lover selectively condemns relationships between adults and teens. Christian and Kelly: bad. An actor friend of Christian carries on a polyamorous affair with Kelly's high school friends Allison (Lana Condor) and Larry (Tyler Alverez): just fine. Why do these filmmakers (including director Jerell Rosales) expect us to sympathize with Rick and wife (Kelly's stepmom) Samantha (Julia Jones) but offer no glimpse into the home lives of Allison and Larry and how their parents feel? Are we to assume that for some reason the team behind High School Lover don't believe certain teens are being taken advantage of by sexual predators while others are? What exactly is the difference?

Don't bother looking here for examples. As High School Lover degenerates into another Fatal Attraction rip off, it's clear everyone's time has been wasted. Serious issues about the film's ethics aside, there's nothing in this clumsy bore to provide even a smidgen of entertainment value (to be completely fair, both Paulina Singer and Julia Jones at least try to make something of their characters but these actors deserve better).
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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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