Ties That Bind (2010)

Excited that Under Age and Out of Control week was over, I tuned into the Lifetime Movie Network last weekend for a movie that's best described by its Canadian production company's website:
Hope finds herself leaving the comfort of her suburban life for New York City in order to settle the affairs of her best friend Rachel who has just been murdered. Little does she know that she is being sucked into a vortex of intrigue, where nothing is what it appears to be--including what happened to Rachel--a vortex that ultimately becomes a fight for Hope’s life.
I was joined in this vortex by my boyfriend, whose refreshing naiveté when it comes to Lifetime movies reminds me of a time when I still thought of Meredith Baxter as the mom from Family Ties. Luckily, he has me to teach him the ropes.

Him: Is that her boyfriend?
Me: Honey, he's black. She's white. And this is a Lifetime movie that doesn't take place during during a civil rights movement. Of course that's not her boyfriend.

Him: Woah, that woman's apartment is awfully nice for a legal secretary.
Me: She was probably a prostitute on the side.

Him: How could you just waltz into a crime scene like that?
Me: If the police did all the work, what would be left for the best friend to investigate?

If you, too, are a newbie to Lifetime movies, you will be shocked at the vortexes in "Ties That Bind," a Lifetime movie as generic as its title. (So generic, in fact, that there's a completely different Lifetime movie of the same name about "a beautiful nurse with a friendly manner and seductive nature.") And by vortexes, I mean that the best friend isn't really dead.

Oops, I gave it away.

The thing that got me about this movie is the main character's love interest--no, not the black guy of course, but a coworker of the supposedly dead friend who supposedly went out with her. The second Peter approaches a tearful Hope at her friend's funeral and gives her his card, it's clear that he's of the attractive, dangerous man variety. So clear that even my boyfriend could hear the semi-sinister music that began playing every time he appeared on screen.

Hope, however, can't hear the foreboding music or see the danger--she can only see the attractive, and after heading into the city to "settle Rachel's affairs" she not only lets him up into Rachel's apartment, she shares her suspicions about Rachel's torrid prostitution side-job with him--because, you know, that's a totally appropriate thing to tell the coworker of your dead friend.

Seemingly not wracked with guilt over her BFF(d)'s sure-to-be-spiraling posthumous reputation at the office, Hope then joins Peter for some buffalo wings and white wine at one of the hottest clubs in NYC, which looks like a purple-lit TGI Friday's with some tables pulled aside for dancing. Soon, things are gettin' sexay as Peter breathes on Hope's neck while they're both look into a mirror. The sinister-but-sexy music heats to a frenzy as Peter pulls Hope onto the dead friend's bed without exposing any of her ladyparts to the camera. And then the next morning he makes her breakfast, isn't that sweet?

If you flip over to LMN one day and find that the last 45 minutes or so of "Ties That Bind" (2010) is on, go ahead and stick around. Once Hope meets up with her actually-not-dead friend, she suddenly becomes kind of kick-ass, and even shoots some dudes. Peter turns out not to be evil, which is less disappointing if you haven't spent the whole movie listening to the sinister music, and the black guy comes to everyone's rescue at the end. But don't expect to find out what the ties that bind are. For that, you'll need Bruce Springsteen.

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