For regular readers of my Lifetime Movie installments, I’d like to unveil my new Lifetime Movie tab, located at the top of my blog. Clicking on it will get you a neat, alphabetical list of the movies I’ve reviewed so far as well as other related Lifetime Movie posts. It’s crude right now, but it should start looking more filled out in the next couple of days.
There’s also a comments section at the bottom, if you’d like to contribute your own deep Lifetime movie reactions, share your own story of the time your identity was stolen by your brother’s bulimic killer, or alert me when an especially good (or bad) movie is scheduled to come on either the Lifetime channel or on the Lifetime Movie Network.
The day after Thanksgiving I watched more Lifetime movies than any one person should. In between eating plates of leftovers, popping Extra Strength Tylenol, and assuming the gym would be closed without actually checking, I watched and watched. I covered all of the major Lifetime themes: the accidental killing of a family member, the on purpose killing of an abusive family member, the shoplifting addiction, the teen pregnancy, the eating disorder, the schizophrenic, and the murder mystery that seems to be a mystery to not only the actors, but also the writer, and the director.
One of movies that I watched from start to finish, though, was Too Young To Be A Dad, a fun twist on the teen pregnancy genre of LMN flicks. Instead of following the girl’s story as she made hard life decisions, the movie focuses on ninth grader Matt Freeman (played by Paul Dano, who has since gone on to bigger things like Little Miss Sunshine).
It’s not a bad idea – I didn’t feel like anyone had explored what teenaged boys go through when they get a girl pregnant. Did they ever want to keep the baby? Did they ever go to alternative high schools? Was it possible for males to have feeling for babies, too?
The main problem with the movie, aside from the conspicuously missing 15-year-olds-doing-it-on-camera sex scene, was that the girl Matt gets pregnant is portrayed as a heartless whore – not because that would be an interesting story, but because it makes you, the person watching the movie, have an easier time caring about the teen dad and ignoring the teen mom.
She heavily pressures Matt to have sex with her, even after Matt voices his reservations (Matt is established as Purely Good within the first minutes of the movie, where he is seen doing well in math class and thanking his mother for making him snacks after school). The teen whore reassures Matt that she does it just to do it all the time, you know, since she’s a whore without feelings.
After he gives in (and gets her pregnant on the first try), she basically disappears from the movie. Her father keeps them from talking, she doesn’t want to see Matt after the baby is born, and she doesn’t make a fuss when Matt tries to adopt the baby himself. This is because whores hate babies and see them merely as the unpleasant side effects of having loveless unprotected sex with multiple partners.
It felt a lot like the pregnant girl was playing the part of the stereotypical Lifetime Dude Who Accidentally Gets a Teen Girl Pregnant And Runs. Much like her male counterparts, who usually don leather jackets and devil-may-care attitudes, she’s a flat character who the screenwriter didn’t want to complicate things more than he had to. I mean, there’s already a baby to deal with. Why add the problem of a relationship?
But the most enjoyable part of the movie for me what the subplot played out between Matt’s mother and Matt’s older sister. Matt’s sister, a rare unpregnant teenage rebel, wants to continue to work at McDonalds when she graduates from high school. Matt’s mother would like her to get a college education and follow any sort of dream other than one involving fast food.
Through Matt’s baby daddy issues, however, the mother comes to the conclusion that her children’s dreams should be her dreams, even if those dreams involve flipping burgers or producing infants. The same day that the family decides to keep Matt’s baby for good, Matt’s sister is promoted to manage the flipping of burgers. Family hug!