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film review

Camila Mendes, right, and Elliott Gould star in Dangerous Lies.Eric Milner/NETFLIX

  • Dangerous Lies
  • Directed by Michael Scott
  • Written by David Golden
  • Starring Camila Mendes, Jessie T. Usher and Elliott Gould
  • Classification N/A; 96 minutes

Rating:

1 out of 4 stars

Given that Netflix desires to be everything to everyone, I can pinpoint a few target audiences for the streaming giant’s new film, Dangerous Lies. First: fans of the teen soap Riverdale, given that both star the charismatic Camila Mendes. Second: audiences who used to gobble up cheaply made movies-of-the-week on broadcast television but have been missing those flinty productions ever since cutting the cord. Third: Um, Elliott Gould’s mortgage broker? Maybe?

If you don’t fall into any one of the above camps, then you can safely bypass this ultra-generic thriller, which looks like it cost the amount of your monthly Netflix subscription and is as satisfying to watch as it is paying that particular bill.

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Mendes and Jessie T. Usher play a young couple who stumble into a plot that feels like a dollar-store Knives Out, writes Barry Hertz.Eric Milner/NETFLIX

From its lazy title down to its yes-we-all-saw-that-coming third-act twist, Dangerous Lies offers a particularly boring kind of last-resort viewing. The deficiency is evident right from the start, when a young married couple (Mendes and Jessie T. Usher) stumble into a plot that feels like a dollar-store version of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out: After a wealthy loner (Gould) dies suddenly, his kindly caregiver (Mendes) inherits his giant house and entire fortune, much to the suspicions of a local cop. Eventually, a bag of diamonds, a rotting corpse and an aggressive realtor (Cam Gigandet) get tossed into the mix, with unintentionally ridiculous results.

A quick glance at the film’s credits reveal the film’s provenance: its director Michael Scott (not the boss from The Office, though ... that would make sense) has made a name for himself directing all manner of forgotten made-for-TV movies with titles like Deadly Visions and Fatal Lessons, while its writer David Golden has done the same, with an emphasis on Hallmark’s yuletide-focused features. Which means I just found a fourth demographic who might be interested in Dangerous Lies. Get ready for the worst Christmas ever, folks.

Dangerous Lies is available to stream on Netflix starting April 28

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