Double Daddy (Review)
Story by Alan Donahue
Screenplay by Barbara Kymlicka
Directed by Lee Friedlander
A teenage boy knocks up not one, but two separate teenage girls. No, this isn’t an episode of Jerry Springer, it’s the Lifetime Channel! Double Daddy is the name, and if you guessed that one of the teenage girls was a crazy stalker, you get double gold stars! This film has all the makings of a kooky classic, but stops just short of greatness. Instead, we’ll have to settle for some ridiculous cheese, social media goofiness, and a gold digger who is ever in search of the ultimate selfie.
Popular kid Connor (Cameron Palatas) is throwing the ultimate high school bash right before the start of senior year, and he’s chug-a-lugged full of beers. His girlfriend Amanda (Mollee Gray) has been away all summer earning money for college, which is bad for him and bad for her, as Heather (Brittany Curran) also as her eyes on Connor, and manages to get him into his dad’s Mercedes and out of his clothes. Despite being drunk as a skunk, Connor does tell her “no” a few times, meaning he is basically raped in this scene. The movie doesn’t address that at all, Connor can barely remember anything, and Heather’s plan was to get knocked up and land herself a rich sugar daddy, so she’s not going to reveal the truth.
As the school year starts, Amanda is back in town and excited to finally see Connor, who is distracted for some odd reason… Amanda is less than thrilled that strange girl Heather is saying “Hi” to Connor in the halls, and even less thrilled when Heather posts a selfie of Connor and her in the Mercedes online. This being high school, the photo spreads like wildfire, and quickly followed by the next one, a photo of Heather and a positive pregnancy test. As an aside, during one of the many selfies she takes, she puts the pregnancy test in her mouth. Ewwww! Connor has to admit his infidelity and now he is single.
Which is bad news for him, because at this point Amanda has realized she’s late, though the timeline means she must be two months late at this point. To add to the drama, Amanda’s older sister has been having miscarriages left and right, leading to the inevitable freak out when Amanda finally admits she’s pregnant. There is always someone who can’t conceive in these films, because it is the best way to add drama. Amanda’s mom can’t really get angry, she got knocked up at 19, and dad’s attempts to be mad are quickly quelled because they can’t have his character be the bad guy. That role is already shared by Connor’s parents and Heather and her loser dad.
Amanda and her parents tell Connor’s parents, and Amanda also drops the bomb on the other pregnant girl. Connor’s parents are less than pleased, as you can imagine. His dad freaks out and thinks the girls are playing “some sick game” and complains about having to pay for all these babies. That insults Amanda’s parents, who counter that they aren’t gold diggers and storm off. Heather has no such qualms about being labeled as such, openly asking Connor for money.
Amanda does some googling and finds out Heather’s had a fake pregnancy at her last school, and confronting her about it leads to the two pregnant girls fighting (which their fellow students dutifully record with their cell phones!) Problem is, Heather isn’t faking, she’s actually pregnant. She has bigger problems, though. Connor’s mom Diane (Maeve Quinlan) tries to buy off Heather’s dad with a large check to leave them alone for a few years, he just takes the money and splits. Heather is also being threatened by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Because she’s abandoned, she moves in with Connor’s family.
All the while Connor realizes he still loves Amanda and is trying to get back with her and be a good expectant teen dad, which is paralleled with how he is basically ignoring Heather. Heather is scheming to get him to pay attention to her, thinking it will somehow make him love her.
This interaction is very weird, as Heather has had so much bad stuff happen to her, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. The film tries to make her crazy so you don’t get too attached and cheer for the Amanda/Connor connection, but it goes too far to the extreme to make Heather a psycho and Amanda becomes way too forgiving of her boyfriend knocking up some random girl. Heather never had a chance for a normal life, her mom abandoned the family, her dad didn’t care about her at all, and the closest thing she had to a boyfriend is an abusive jerk who blackmails her. She’s incredibly poor, while Amanda’s family is hinted to be working class/middle class, and Connor’s family is the kind that can drop six figure checks without batting an eye. It is a weird class bias that works against the film.
Heather eventually ends up killing her abusive ex, and plans to kill Amanda as well so she’ll have Connor all to herself. They basically had to turn her into a serial killer to get people against her, which shows they didn’t do the proper set up. The film dropped in a few shots of Heather randomly screaming to emphasize that she has lost her mind, because no one who is ever frustrated at anything has ever screamed before, only crazy people.
As a further twist against Heather, Amanda decides that she’ll let her sister adopt Amanda’s baby. Don’t think that actually happens, because (SPOILER ALERT) she ends up keeping the baby because her sister decides not to adopt it. She doesn’t tell her this until after the baby is born, so good job, there. And, no, the sister doesn’t adopt the other baby, either. So what was the point of the scenes of them deciding to give the baby up?
Double Daddy gets too caught up in trying to present teenage pregnancy into maturing Amanda and Connor that it sometimes forgets that it is also supposed to be a crazy person movie. The mix together amplifies the flaws with each of the parts, the film should have picked one direction and went with it, instead of the messy half-measures. My preference would have been to go full crazy pregnant teens, even made Connor more of a jerk and made Amanda look more sympathetic by result. Heather could still be the way she is, only Connor is rejecting both and moving on to another girl (who is pregnant by the end of the film!) Also everyone should be pregnant with twins. Just really push the double angle. But we watch the film as it is, and Double Daddy flirts with greatness, only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Despite the film’s flaws, Brittany Curran is great as Heather, and does a good job at humanizing a character the script seemed to think was more of a flat stereotype that no one would like. She’s totally self-absorbed and manipulative, but also on the receiving end of a lot of bad things that aren’t her fault. Mollee Gray can’t do much with Amanda, who is made too goody-goody so can’t develop the depth she needs. Cameron Palatas is likewise stymied with Connor, the film has his tore a bit between his responsibilities, but by the end he’s basically ignoring Heather and his baby with her in favor of Amanda, and the film seems to think that’s just fine. Anne-Marie Johnson is wasted as a teacher at the school who barely does anything, a shame since she talented and should be used more often by film.
Maeve Quinlan is good as Connor’s manipulative mom, Diane, who tries to buy off Heather and later gets into a physical altercation with her. A bit more should have been added, because Diane obviously doesn’t like Heather because they are the same person, but the potential drama here is also not even bothered with, another miss. The misses are tragic because the creative team has done things with class conflicts before, director Lee Friedlander helmed Babysitter’s Black Book, which featured girls exchanging sex for money for college. That theme was also used in Sugar Daddies, which was written by Barbra Kymlicka. I can give her a pass because she only did the screenplay, and I’m not sure how much she could add to it. She also wrote A Cookie Cutter Christmas and Death Clique, meaning she is a TarsTarkas.NET All Star!
I thought Double Daddy would double the fun, but it turns out it was using that New Math, and it just doesn’t add up to a must-see. Worth watching if it is on, but not worth tracking down. As a final bit of trivia (as I have started recording these nuggets), the Fake Instagram was called Pixapost, and the fake Facebook was called FacePage. Now you know, and knowing is Double the Daddy!
Rated 6/10 (Not so Fabergé egg, Franklin, bad boyfriend, bad daddy, good friend, cake topper)
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