21 February 2016 | mgconlan-1
Not the movie the synopsis described!
"Pregnant at 17" was written by Christine Conradt, which is usually a good sign. Though Conradt's scripts often descend into barely believable melodrama, at least she occasionally gives her characters some complexity and dimension, and her recent directorial debut with the Lifetime movie "The Bride He Met Online," despite its formulaic and stupid title, was quite engaging. It was directed by one of her frequent collaborators, Curtis James Crawford. 10-year married couple, Jeff (Roark Critchlow) and Sonia (Josie Bissett, top-billed) Clefton, who are veterinarians who co-run an animal clinic and are well off; and about the miscarriage Sonia had 10 years earlier, which has put a chill on the marriage and her demeanor generally. They're also right about Chelsea Sheridans (Zoé de Grand Maison — why is her last name "of the big house"?), the 17-year-old girl (though she's told Jeff she's 22 and he met her in a bar — we're told everyone thinks she's older than she is but even so no bartender who wanted to keep his job would serve her without carding her, so she must have faked an I.D.) who not only has an affair with Jeff but gets pregnant by him. For some reason the IMDb.com synopsis describes a quite different plot from the one we get, the synopsis uses the word "polyamory" and therefore suggests it will end in a three-way relationship between the principals. Jeff offers Sonia the usual lame excuses for his long nights away from home, until the night when Chelsea texts Jeff at home, Jeff calls her and they make a date for that night after Sonia has already gone to bed and overhears Jeff talking to her in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Chelsea, who works as a barista at a gelato place and is being raised by her dad Dom (Conrad Pla) — her mom's dead — is decorous and sexually reserved enough so that when she starts collapsing at work and puking a lot, that when she becomes pregnant there's no doubt that Jeff is the father because he's the only guy with whom she's been having sex. On their next date Chelsea breaks Jeff the double whammy: not only is she pregnant by him, she's only 17 and therefore he's guilty of statutory rape. Sonia decides to track down the woman her husband was cheating on her with — only when they meet, they decide they like each other and bond instantly. There's also a subplot that turns out to supply the film's climax: two years earlier, high-school student Chelsea witnessed her friend Mikey's (Shawn Lawrence) convenience store getting robbed, ID'd the robber as schoolmate Greg Foster (Rogan Christopher), talked to the police and ultimately testified against him at trial. She's remained in touch with Mikey and is also dating Adam Wilson (Jake Manley), Mikey's grandson and the requisite age-peer boyfriend for Chelsea to move on to after circumstances break up her and Jeff. But neither Greg nor his sister Laren (Corina Bizim) have forgiven Chelsea for sending him to prison, and when he's released on parole after serving just two years of a five-year sentence, Greg is out for revenge. Pregnant at 17 is well done overall but suffers from Conradt's addiction to creating "thrilling" scenes whether they either advance the plot or make sense, or not. Chelsea is a fascinating character, both she and Sonia are considerably more multi-dimensional than the Lifetime norm, and the actresses playing them rise to the challenge. But the film as a whole sinks into the picturesque unbelievability of many of Conradt's scripts even though the bond between Sonia and Chelsea is fascinating and deserved to be showcased in a better movie