Story by Becca Topol and David DeCrane
Screenplay by Becca Topol
Directed by Monika Mitchell
First they sugared the daddies. I said nothing, for I wasn’t a daddy. But then they came to sugar the babies. And I was like, “Seriously, Lifetime?” This is the third film they’ve shown this year where young, nubile girls decide the best way to pay tuition is to get it on with older men for buckets of cash. It’s like the college girls banging old dudes for tuition money films are racing the Unauthorized 90s TV Show Story films for who can flood Lifetime’s airwaves the most! We’ve seen it with Suger Daddies and with Babysitter’s Black Book, and now we dip into the pool for a third time.
Sugarbabies runs a lot of the same numbers as we’ve seen before. Hardworking and smart Katie Woods (Alyson Stoner) arrives at the university and excels at classes, but her working class background means she can’t afford to pay for an expensive but competitive interning opportunity. Luckily for Katie, she’s made friends with Tessa Bouillette (Tiera Skovbye), a wannabe model who is living the high life thanks to an older (and married!) man paying all her bills. We see her initiate Rochelle Cranston (Sarah Dugdale) into the Sugar Babies website (cheered on by fellow sugar bowl enthusiast Sasha (Eva Day)), and thanks to being at the right place at the right time, Katie is introduced to the rich and charming James Smith (Giles Panton) by Tessa.
Katie and James have a relationship where they enjoy each others’ company very much, but James pays off her bookstore account, and soon is driving her around town in limos and impressing her by showing all the expensive antique furniture he owns (which they then have sex on, which probably totally ruined that couch!) James gives her money for the internship, but Katie blows $1500 on a chair for her dad and is soon texting James like mad asking for more dough, so he pawns her off on one of his college buddies.
Katie is shocked, SHOCKED that her begging of money from a guy who is paying her for sex means that guys want to pay her for sex. Even though she signs up for the Sugar Babies site with Tessa’s encouragement, she somehow sees herself as morally superior to reality. Her dad took about three seconds to realize the chair she bought was way too expensive, and her mom snooping on her somehow unlocked phone that had the Sugar Babies App open complete with sleazy messages plastered across it leads to the usual scene of the family arguing because they are too poor to pay for Katie’s dreams and Dad being disappointed.
Tessa has her own problems, she seems on top of the world with her beau paying for everything, until he doesn’t any more, nor does he inform her that he stopped paying until the collection agency and landlords start calling. Soon Tessa is becoming a freakout trainwreck and is desperate to find a new man to take care of her. Rochelle managed to hook superstar businessman Saul Williams (Ken Camroux-Taylor), but also convinced him they wouldn’t have sex, but she’d be the ideal date for all his functions and a good business partner to keep him up to date on youth things while he mentors her in financial stuff. Their relationship then progresses as the mentor/mentee for most of the film until she decides she will have sex with him, the idea of finally getting to nail her is so exciting that the poor man promptly dies!
Overall, Sugarbabies was disappointing, not because we’ve seen this story before (we’ve seen how many crazy stalker stories on Lifetime?), but because the film seems afraid to have anything long term bad happen to the main characters. In both previous go-arounds, lives were destroyed, marriages ended, towns erupted in scandal, and there were even body counts. Here, Katie has to put up with some rumors about what she does, but she lives with it and just goes on the internship next year (after paying all the money back to James). Tessa finds some other guy to pay for her, Rochelle got a bunch of money from Saul’s will that is enough to pay for business school and then some, and Sasha marries one of the guys she meets on the website. The only destroyed life we got was Katie’s dad being disappointed for 10 minutes or so, and the college age kid she liked also being disappointed (but he also puked on her shoes earlier, so, yeah.)
It looks like the focus was too set on making the girls look innocent enough that you would think that maybe even your own child could be sucked into the Sugar Babies world. While the lack of serious repercussions and different angles of the tales of the women may be more realistic, on Lifetime we want drama! Screaming, crying, cops bursting in to class and handcuffing main characters, and people thrown in trunks. Sugarbabies should have taken the advice and killed their darlings, making these girls suffer. The film goes out of the way to make them seem above being just expensive prostitutes, giving them moral centers and keeping the two more innocent girls from having a rotating cast of men. But that prevents the sweet sweet dramabomb core essential for Lifetime success. So on that not, I can’t recommend Sugarbabies to scratch that itch. It didn’t make our dreams come true. But I’m sure there will be another girls having sex with old guys for tuition money movie along soon enough, it’s not like paying for college is going to get cheaper anytime soon!
Rated 4/10 (professor, no puking!, book store hunk, hard at work earning sugar)
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