A new case of fatal attraction
Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.
She doesn't boil a pet bunny. But Jodi Arias displays wicked knife technique in a new Lifetime movie that could have just as well been titled, “Fatal Attraction for Cable News.”
“Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret”airs at 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime.
Premiering Saturday at 8 p.m., “Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret” is a ripped-from-cable-news saga of a woman scorned who last month was found guilty of killing her former lover, motivational speaker Travis Alexander. On June 4, 2008, Arias stabbed and slashed him nearly 30 times, slit his throat and shot him in the head in what prosecutors said was jealous rage, and what Arias unpersuasively argued was self-defense, when, according to her, he attacked her.
But you know all that. “Dirty Little Secret” unearths no secrets, dirty or otherwise. Every sordid detail, it seems, has been trumpeted for years by the media, then recycled for months during Arias' trial in Phoenix that got blanket coverage on TV.
Now comes the inevitable made-for-TV film.
The big surprise: “Dirty Little Secret” is a pretty good film. It's a draw-you-in, sudsy melodrama stocked with guilty pleasures.
Tania Raymonde (“Lost”) is swell as Jodi, with a remarkable likeness to this sexy, young woman no man could resist, at least not Travis as he fought a losing battle with his Mormon principles to feast on this forbidden fruit.
Or, to use a metaphor straight from the film, forbidden coffee — which, as Travis explains to Jodi early on, he shuns as a Mormon because of its addictive properties.
“I'm like coffee,” Jodi teases him.
“Very strong coffee,” he agrees as he submits again.
Jesse Lee Soffer (“The Mob Doctor”) makes a fine Travis — glib, blandly wholesome and all too relatable in his mission to have it both ways, relationship-wise: treating Jodi as a red-hot plaything while he nurtures a “suitable” wife-worthy prospect.
Trouble arises, of course, as love-struck Jodi bridles at the strictly recreational role she plays in Travis' life.
“I just want to be the girl that he wants,” she tells a chum.
Then she snaps.
“Dirty Little Secret” charts a step-by-step run-up to her grisly payback, a scene lyrically staged as a slow-motion massacre.
“Dirty Little Secret” is a step up from the reality-TV treatment the case has gotten with its more excessive coverage. The film also serves as a refreshing alternative for telling the tale, dramatized for maximum titillation while, in its tidy, two-hour package, efficiently stripping away the wretched excess.