The Bride He Bought Online
PRANKED!!! You got so pranked!
Lifetime brings us an amazing tale of pranking gone wrong, internet danger, guy who goes nuts, and teen girls stuffed in trunks! The Bride He Bought Online is pure, concentrated Lifetime amazement that raises the bar for their original movies. It’s not really that much of a surprise, for not only is this a Lifetime movies superstar writer Christine Conradt script, she also directs it! Conradt clearly knew she had to up her game, and blasted past that goal and then some! We can only hope this is the beginning of a new level of awesome flicks!
It’s high school, and our trio of main girls are concerned with what everyone in high school is concerned with, views on their secret pranking website! Wait, huh? We’ve entered the world of internet prank videos, a genre that has flourished on YouTube despite the fact most of them are terrible and/or totally fake. But, sure, whatever you want to watch is your business, TarsTarkas.NET can’t really judge based on some of the films we’ve reviewed!
Avery Lindstrom (Anne Winters) is the nice girl who is so done with pranking and is thinking about her future, she also serves as a bookend narrator. Mandy Kim (Lauren Gaw) once was overweight and unpopular, but is now part of the cool squad and desperately wants to stay there. She is starting to have some moral objections to the non-stop pranks, but let’s Kaley push her around. Kaley Mack (Annalisa Cochrane) is attractive, popular, and is the driving force behind the secret prank website. She’s the reason the other two are popular at school, and schemes up the latest and greatest pranks in her quest for social media love.
“We need content. Content equals followers.” – Mandy
“And followers equals?” -Avery
“Everything!” – Kaley
Kaley is prank-obsessed and doesn’t want to live the normal life, using the prank website as a longshot way to escape going to college and getting a job. Kaley just wants to be rich and live the easy life. This drives her to search out bigger stunts to pull for more views, likes, and follows, to sell the site or even land a tv gig out of it. She’s the mastermind behind the latest stunt, setting up a fake profile on a meet foreign women/mail order bride site. She’s even already been in contact with her intended target before she reveals it to the other girls, but doesn’t explain how far she is going to go until it’s too late to stop it. He’s going to get so pranked by her!
John (Travis Hammer) is a computer toucher who is far more comfortable typing Linux commands than talking to anyone, especially women. It’s even more apparent with his interactions with his escort neighbor (both her clients and his packages get their addresses confused!) But he’s not afraid to sign up for dating sites like the one Kaley put her fake profile on, and is soon chatting with “Diwata”. Kaley perfectly places her bait, and soon John invites her to America to attend his company’s party. Thus, the prank is on, as Kaley plans to film him at the airport waiting for his mail order bride that will never come. Actually, she plans to have Mandy film him, and even has to trick Avery into coming, who then storms off when she figures out what is going on.
John was legit in love, but his heart is destroyed. After a bit of investigating, he finds out Diwata’s photos are of a dead model, and quickly traces where the photos are hosted, right in Kaley’s webspace complete with her name. Some social media stalking soon strikes gold, John remembering her and the other girls from the airport as he overheard Kaley and Avery arguing. He even finds their pranking site along with the video of him at the airport. Anger turns to revenge, and John prepares to do some pranking of his own. Turns out kidnapping three teenage girls is also a prank! But the pranking has just begun, and the girls must avoid the ultimate prank!
Part of the fun of The Bride He Bought Online is how everything keeps escalating. There isn’t one kidnapping, there are three. The girls prank against John escalates to filming and getting him to spend hundreds of dollars. John turns from an awkward guy who is improving for a woman he loves into an embittered men’s rights activist ranting about how American women treat men horribly. Even his plan for the girls jumps the rails when it turns out the shady guys he met in the darknet are untrustworthy! Who knew?! What pranksters, those sex slavers! The constant amount of plot twists is entertaining, and while the film was never in danger of slowing down, it does keep dodging your expectations. Or pranking your expectations!
Beyond the plot twists, The Bride He Bought Online works because of the amazing actresses and their command performances. Annalisa Cochrane is awesome chewing the scenery when Kaley goes full mean spoiled brat, and Mandy and Kaley feuding over a young man hired by John to get friended on their social media accounts is great catfighting and passive aggressiveness. Anne Winters plays Avery so over everything and crushing on a boy instead, but is still forced to with her friends causing issues because of her sense of loyalty. Lauren Gaw’s Mandy torn between being popular and standing up for herself and remaining friends with Avery, knowing in her heart that Kaley will be left behind when they go off to college, but not able to push far enough away fast enough to do what is right.
The three girls have defined personalities, all of which carries over after they are abducted. Mandy immediately tattles on Kaley for planning everything and bickers with her when the two are chained up. Kaley continues insulting and even spitting on John, thinking she is still in control and that he is the contemptible weakling she was mocking. Avery responds with mature logic, trying to get John to talk, be calm, answer questions, and appear that she’s trying to make a connection with him so he doesn’t go overboard, but Kaley’s insults keeps that from happening. Things just go so well together.
The Bride He Bought Online provides pure Lifetime fun, and that’s no prank!
Rated 9/10 (no one will ever know who is filming, cat clock, covering Apple symbols on laptops, heart of friendship, he traded he porno for a plant, lady smartcop, totally trustworthy sex slaver, friend of the killer, shutting down all the fire alarms!)
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