That minx Kristin Davis. Just when you think she’s settling into being the Hallmark Channel and Netflix’s middle-aged Christmas Movie Queen (“A Heavenly Christmas,” “Holiday in the Wild,” “A Knight Before Christmas”) she goes all SHOWtime on us.
Ok, maybe not the full Showtime. But certainly more “Sex and the City” than “A Lifetime Original Movie” — racy, sexual, violent.
“Deadly Illusions” is an overwrought, over-sexed potboiler about a novelist with writer’s block whose new nanny seems to be the answer to her childcare dilemma, and her fervid, possibly fictional over-the-top dreams.
For Mary (Davis), Grace (Greer Grammer, you-know-who’s daughter) goes from “exactly what you need to get you through” this last book, all “I have nothing to worry about with her,” to someone who ingratiates herself with her two kids and may be seducing her husband (Dermot Mulroney) and Mary as well.
Or is it all in her book-planning/novel-writing, lost-in-her-paranoid imagination head?
Shanola Hampton plays the best friend who urges Mary to hire a nanny, and the one who sounds the alarm of what might be going on with the pushy, eager-to-please blonde Mary puts on the payroll.
Writer-director Anna Elizabeth James lurches between hokey predictability and just plain bizarre scenes as she staggers towards a finale that never looks anything but “inevitable.”
The instant bonding between harried writer who needs “me time” to knock off a novel in a popular series is just nuts.
First day on the job, and Mary is taking 20ish Grace bra shopping? I mean, isn’t that a second week on the job ritual? So confused.
Moments like that aren’t passed off as research, or even clumsily-handled “fantasy.” Sex and seduction scenes, showers and swimsuits by the pool? They’re uhhh PLOT points, right?
Screenwriting isn’t as easy as some make it look, and this script, which dives into an over-explained third act and a hilariously over-the-top finale, is just awful.
A careful reading of our writer-director’s resume reveals that she usually gets “story” credits, not “Deadly Illusions” needed help that James did not get.
Anything that rescues Kristin Davis from Christmas romance movie hell can’t be all bad. But “Deadly Illusions” comes too darned close.
MPA Rating: R for sexual content/nudity, some bloody violence and language
Cast: Kristin Davis, Greer Grammer, Dermot Mulroney and Shanola Hampton
Credits: Scripted and directed by Anna Elizabeth James. A Voltage film on Netflix.
Running time: 1:54