The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders (2019 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Contestants on The One, Stephanie and Oliver try to determine if they’re fated to be together. Meanwhile, sparks fly between Stephanie and Alex, the handsome ranch owner who acts as their guide.
Did I ever think I’d see Denise Richards in a Lifetime movie? You bet your ass I did. Did I think it would be this SCARY! NO! The movie starts off with people in lion, tiger, and bear masks (oh my!) forcing a POC teen to chug a bottle of vodka in her underwear on the football field. Campus security comes, and the girls scatter. Flash to one year leader, and we see a bunch of teens high fiving in slow motion.
Denise Richards drops her daughter, Ava, off at her new school and gives her a pep talk. Ave wants to be a dancer, but this dumb school only has cheerleaders. Denise Richards tells her daughter that she was a cheerleader back in her day… we know Denise Richards… we saw Drop Dead Gorgeous. Denise Richards
Ava walks around the school, and I swear everyone is walking in slow movie motion with music playing in the background except her. Her first class is with the hunky teacher, Mr. Bailey. He assigns lab partners and pairs Ave up with Allyson, the POC teen, who is now a social outcast. The popular white girl cheerleaders make fun of her and are just RUDE.
Later, at cheerleader tryouts, Ave lowers her standards from Dance to Cheerleading. The coach is pretty intense, and the team captain is even worse. Her name is Katrina Smith, and she is fake as hell. Ava is a magnet for the cheerleader misfits, and the nonblonde or POC girls give her lots of exposition about cheerleading. When it is Ava’s turn to try out, she dances to a Christina Aguilera knock off while a shirtless twink football player, Patrick, watches on. He isn’t the only impressed one. Ava makes the team! (Katrina comes over in person to welcome Ava to the team and gives her a uniform.)
Ava is instantly popular. People applaud when she walks into a classroom, stop her in the hallways to congratulate, and sit with her at lunch. Ava has no time for Allyson anymore and is BFF with Katrina. (Katrina dictates who Ave can be friends with, date, and what she can wear.) Katrina tells Ava that Patrick is a loser because he isn’t a starter on the football team, and Allyson is an alcoholic.
A pep rally happens… This is not Bring it On cheerleading. Only four girls on the squad tumble and the rest just dance around with pom-poms. There are scouts at the pep rally for some reason. This makes Katrina feel threatened because Ava is so good. Her only option is to sabotage.
Katrina tells all the girls they are going out after curfew and drinking. It is basically hazing. The new girls on the team chug vodka, are forced into a freight elevator and sent to a basement. Ave dumps out her drink but still goes along with the hazing. Katrina and her teammates put on lion masks again and lock the new girls in a cage. The girls are freaking out when the room starts to fill with smoke. Ava picks the lock with a bobby pin, and he hazing ends. (Hailey freaked out the most and failed and is off the team?)
A dance-off happens. Katrina and Ava dance to more knock off Christina Aguilera.
Patrick asks Ava out on a date, and they have a real connection. Patrick tells Ava that he is playing football for fun, not for a career. Ave emotionally dumps on him and tells him her whole backstory. Her dad died in a car crash, which caused her to spiral. Ava quit dancing, got addicted to Adderall, and had to move to a new town to get away from the wrong crowd she fell into. Patrick is not fazed and tells Ava that he wants to take her out again. They kiss in the car, and he asks her to homecoming. They are legitimately adorable, wait… am I shipping for Patrick and Ava now?!?!?
Denise Richards pops in the movie to play the mom role and sends Ava off to homecoming. At homecoming, oh wait, a homecoming after-party… Lifetime didn’t have the budget for a proper school dance. Ava has fun with her friends and date until Katrina gets her drunk friend to make out with Patrick. Ava catches them and storms off, allowing Katrina to pretend to be a “good friend” and gives her a ride home.
Ava has turned in to a brown-haired version of Katrina. She thinks Patrick is a loser now, flirts with teachers to get assignment extension, and basically has no morals anymore. But, hey, at least she is not on Adderall. Since Ava and Katrina are VERY similar, they are both in the top ten for cheerleader of the year. (Which comes with a scholarship.)
Katrina goes crazy and trashes a bathroom. She then continues with her hazing. She makes the new girls on the squad strip on camera. (Which is live streaming to the whole school, including the football team who are all in towels watching together…) Ava yells at Katrina to stop, and when she learns that they are live streaming, she leaves and smashes Katrina’s phone. Ave is off the team.
While in a really fancy high school bathroom, Ava overhears that Katrina has been plotting against her. Katrina then plants drugs in Ava’s locker. Denise Richards comes to school and doesn’t believe her daughter, especially when Ava tells her that it was Katrina, and she can prove it.
Ava apologizes to Patrick, and they agree to stop Katrina. They can’t do so without the help of Allyson. (The POC teen) Allyson tells Ava what happened to her and explains that no one helped her without proof. (Like, seriously where is the coach.) Tiffany, the last remaining new girl, calls and tells Ava that she is scared and going to be hazed… on the roof of a building.
Patrick and Ava rush to the building. They are surprised to find Tiffany blindfolded and about to walk on the ledge of the building. Ava says that she will do it instead and understands why Katrina has been hazing them, to make them better! Katrina overshares and tells Ava that she lies all the time, and adults believe her. Ave gest up on the ledge and actually walks it blindfolded?!?!? Patrick has been filming the whole thing and lived streams it to all the parents, teachers, and the police.
While gloating, Ava slips and falls to her death. Just kidding, Patrick saves her when she falls while gloating. Katrina is hauled away by the police the next day in her uniform. All her classmates’ cheer and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Denise Richards finally believes her daughter and promises to do better.
Five months later, a pep rally happens again, and Denise Richards is there with pom poms. She, unfortunately, she isn’t included in the routine. Ava is the cheerleader of year, Allyson is back on the team, and Patrick has his shirt on.
The first movie in Lifetime’s Cheer, Rally, Kill, line up.
Denise Richards deserves better than this cookie-cutter TV movie mom role.
Minority Report: Allyson, a few girls on the squad, and the Principal.
Knock off Christina Aguilara music by Scott Nickoley, Ryan Franks, and David Feldstein.
🔪🔪 (2 Knives)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime