Cheerleader Escort (2019 Lifetime)
Cast: Cynthia Preston, Alexandra Beaton, Emily Clarke and Damon Runyan
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
When college freshman Cassie (Alexandra Beaton, The Next Step) earns a spot on the cheerleading squad, she is overjoyed about the new friendships, status, and access to social events that come along with being on the team. When she meets Terry (Damon Runyan, Gangland Undercover), the charismatic President of the Alumni Association, at an event, Cassie finds herself falling for this older man despite their age difference. Terry even helps her out by paying part of her tuition when she falls on hard times. But all is not as it seems when Cassie finds out that members of the team moonlight as escorts with rich alumni, and that the man she’s falling in love with is part of that group. When a friend from the team becomes pregnant and ends up dead under mysterious circumstances, Cassie vows that nothing will stop her from exposing the dark world that surrounds her.
Cheerleaders are doing their routine for a bunch of senior citizens in a tiny room? Apparently, they are alumni. (More like the producers didn’t have a budget for a fancy college football field.) One cheerleader leaves the event early and goes to a married man’s house. She sexily cheerleads for him and then takes him upstairs to work on a different kind of cheer pyramid. (winky face.)
Cassie is a freshman heading off to college. Her mom, Karen, is said to be an empty nester and is having money issues. (Her ex-husband paid for Cassie’s first semester but is a month behind on child support and alimony. He has been MIA for a month… and this issue is never resolved.) Cassie wants to be a veterinarian. (Because she is, like, seven?) Karen owns a dance studio. Cassie isn’t going to college alone, she is going with her POC friend, Jess. They are both excited to gain the freshman fifteen by eating ice cream all the time and going to keg parties.
We get a lot of shots of college, and it looks like a pretty beautiful campus. The girls see the cheerleaders walking around and think they must be the most popular girls on campus. (That is actually not how college works.) It turns out that Jess knows Gabby, who is a popular cheerleader. Since Cassie is a dancer, Gabby invites her to cheerleader tryouts. In the name of parties, Jess talks Cassie into trying out!
Coach Stephanie is excited to meet Cassie and tells her that the team is like a family. Tryouts happen, and these girls are at least doing SOME tumbling. After tryouts, Cassie walks alone on campus. She is kidnapped, don’t worry though it is just the cheerleaders welcoming her to the team. They party in the gym all night, which causes Cassie to be late for class. (She doesn’t even brush her teeth!!!)
Cassie meets a guy named Kyle in her class, and he offers to help her study, but he has a girlfriend. Cassie is really naive and doesn’t have agency. Gabby insults her clothes and then takes her on a shopping spree/makeover. Cassie is worried about the money, but Gabby insists that the alumni will pay for it. The alumni, of course, aren’t paying for it, sex is! Gabby meets a john at a hotel, and he pays her $1000 to sleep with her. Jess sees Gabby go into the hotel and is suspicious.
Montage of cheerleading and escorting happens. It seems like all guys on campus know about the prostitution. The females on campus are in the dark. At a basketball game, the men watch the girls more than the game itself. (To be fair, this is the best cheerleading I’ve seen in the Cheer, Rally, Kill series.) Cassie notices the alumni president, Terry Dunes (Damon Runyan), staring at her throughout the whole game. (Maybe the Alumni are involved.) Cassie tells Gabby about her money problems, and Gabby opens up about her escorting but calls it “dating alumni.” Cassie is horrified but needs to come up with the 2nd-semester tuition somehow…
Cassie decides to join Gabby at Terry’s house for a double date. Gabby goes to the hot tub with John, and Cassie drinks wine and makes an awkward conversation with Terry. Terry is a 45-year-old lawyer who doesn’t want anything serious dating wise. He makes Cassie a frittata and is not as creepy as she thought. Terry is not only a good cook, but he also makes a generous anonymous donation to Cassie’s mom’s studio for two months’ rent. (Then promptly tells Cassie he did it. haha.)
Terry wine and dines, Cassie. He makes grand gestures, like renting out an entire restaurant. Cassie is worried that she is sending the wrong impression and clarifies that she is not going to sleep with him just because he is paying for all these things for her. That is until her mom gets in a car accident, can’t work, and is now racked with medical debt. Cassie goes to Terry and finally puts out. Which earns her $5000 paid to her second-semester tuition.
Things aren’t going so well for Gabby. She is pregnant with John’s (John’s literal name is John.) baby but sees it as her ticket to the good life. John is avoiding Gabby and is actually planning on dumping her. He even brings his wife to an alumni charity event to make it clear to Gabby that he is done with her. Gabby tells John about the baby, and he demands that she needs to get of the baby, or he will destroy her. Cassie overhears the argument and checks on Gabby. Gabby tells her that it is all transactional and she has collateral to get what she wants. John makes a call to Stephanie to take care of Gabby. (A man in a black hoodie breaks into her house and kills her.)
Cassie lies to her mom and says she got an on-campus job and can pay off her tuition. Cassie’s mom is proud of her daughter until she sees a text on Cassie’s phone from Terry. Terry begs Cassie to come back to school and not be with her injured mother. Since she needs the money, she has to go. Even though she has noticed that she isn’t the only cheerleader he has been sleeping with and she is upset about it. (Like does this girl not realize that she is a sex worker?)
At practice, everyone realizes that Gabby is missing. Cassie decides to go to Gabby’s charming house and finds her dead from a staged OD. Cassie thinks that John has something to do with it. She opens up to Jess about everything, and Jess is surprisingly supportive and helps her talk it through. They look up an old friend of Gabby’s named Monica, who used to be on the team.
Monica works on a horse farm, so we get to see horses! (That is fun!) Cassie tells Monica about Gabby’s death. Monica spells it out for her. Give me an E.S.C.O.R.T. What’s that spell? Escort, which is what you are Cassie. She also tells her that Stephanie is not just the coach. She is the madame. Monica warns Cassie to be careful; these people are influential with a lot of money.
Cassie rounds up Kyle and Jess to help her. At a charity event, Jess spills wine on Stephanie, causing her to rush to the bathroom. Monica and Cassie are in the bathroom and confronts Stephanie while leaving a phone on to record the whole thing. Kyle puts the phone audio into the event hall, and everyone hears everything. When Stephanie returns to the banquet hall, everyone gives her dirty looks.
Flash to Cassie and her mom. Cassie isn’t going back to college and will stay at home to help her mom at the dance studio. Kyle (who is single now) and Jess (Who will hopefully will go back to school.) come over and help make dinner? The end….
Minority Report: Jess, Coach Stephanie, a bunch of extras, and a few girls unnamed girls on the squad.
This movie was not realistic. Still, I liked that it depicted the reality of college tuition being difficult for families to pay.
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime
Ah! My first comment! I found your website a few days ago and I’m obsessed. It started by me watching this movie and I missed the last like 5 minutes so I googled for a review on the movie. I don’t know you, but I LOVE you Patrick! I’ve also started listening to the podcast. I agree with your scoring of this movie, but I had 4 glasses of wine lol
OMG! This is the nicest comment. Thank you. Nothing better than Lifetime with 4 glasses of wine.
Omg, ditto to what autumnmaypop said, I’ve gotten totally obsessed with your site recently. Anytime I start watching a Lifetime movie, I immediately consult your site to see if it’s worth my time! Thank you so much for what you do Patrick, keep it up!
She only slept with terry once and wasn’t a sex worker
She was paid handsomely by Terry for sleeping with him, so she was paid for sex work. I’d say that made her his sex worker, even if just that one time.
Ok. I have literally been scouting your website multiple times a day. I love it and your little “quips”. Way to go! You are awesome!