Grand Theft Auto Girls (2020 Lifetime)
Cast: Zo Belkin, Samantha Helt, Tyler Hynes, Tanya Clarke, Jake Manley
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
A widowed mother must help her teenage daughter escape a life of crime after she becomes embroiled in a dangerous scheme to steal luxury cars for her high school teacher.
Two girls, Max and Emily, are hotwiring cars in a parking lot and joyriding around a parking garage. The police blockade the entrance, and the driver doesn’t have her driver’s license. Instead of trying to sweet-talking her way out of jail, as most privileged white girls do, they go on a high-speed chase and ditch the car in an underpass.
Emily and Mac work in an auto shop, or maybe they have an auto shop in their high school? This is some confusing Canadian stuff. Attractive white teenagers work on cars in a montage as generic “funky” music plays. Emily is impressed by one of her classmates or co-workers, Dylan. He is a bad boy, and this is a bad movie.
More random music plays as the girls buy tires. The lyrics to the song include “Sex is good” and “You want it, I got it!” Buying tires has never been so…. Sexy? The girls notice that Nestor (a POC) is scraping stolen cars for parts. Max, a white blonde, says, “Do you think homeboy is running a chopshop.” This was when I realized not only is this movie terrible, it is also racists and should have had POCs involved behind the scenes.
The girls run into some money trouble and go to Nestor for a job. They show him how they can hotwire and steal cars, and he is impressed. He hires the girls on the spot. They hijack a few cars and then go on a shopping spree. Cue a shopping montage to Paperbag Money by Cory Lee. (Who also plays the detective in the movie and is best known for her work on Degrassi.)
Emily’s mom, Gail, is concerned that her daughter is working on cars too much. She wants Emily to get straight A’s, and then she can get her drivers’ license. Emily’s father died in a car crash, and he was obsessed with cars too.
The auto shop teacher at the school named Mr. Chunrow follows Emily and Max. He sees them hotwire a car and blackmails them into working for him. Mr. Chunrow wants them to steal luxury cars by hacking into smart keys with some wires connected to a computer chip. (IDK if this is real, but it looks REALLY stupid.)
More stock footage of fancy New Yorkers getting into their fancy cars. Emily and Max steal cars in evening gowns in the middle of the day. They bring the cars to an old abandoned farm that Mr. Chunrow owns. He is a weird guy. Repeat car stealing, this time in terrible wigs.
A lady detective is on the case of the stolen cars. She interrogates Nestor and Dylan. She also implicates Emily and Max, stating two teenage girls have been reported at the scene of every car theft. Dylan tells Emily that she is in trouble, and he wants to get out before things get out of hand. They do, Nestor comes to school and threatens the girls to stop stealing cars of he will chop off their toes.
Gail finds out that her daughter has been working on “an old farm” with Mr. Chunrow, and she confronts the teacher. In a Hallmark movie, this is when Gail and Mr. Chunrow fall in love. However, Gail is too suspicious. I’m worried he is going to kill her now. After an unsuccessful talk, Gail goes to the farm and sees all the luxury cars they have stolen. Chunrow sees her and pulls a gun on her taking her hostage.
Emily and Max are horrified to learn Chunrow is holding Gail hostage in exchange for another car heist. This time it is a Hummer and belongs to Staxx, who is a club owner. Dylan begs them to go to the police because it is an impossible task.
Detective Torres is onto Emily and Max; she calls them using Dylan’s phone and tells her to turn herself in. Max wants to throw in the towel, but Emily won’t let her mother get killed. They wear even WORSE wigs than before and head into the night club. Emily almost gets caught by Staxx but makes it to the hummer in time. Staxx and Nestor follow them in another car, and a chase ensues. The men drive by and shoot at the girls. Then the police also join in on the pursuit.
Gail is still in captivity and zip tied. She runs away from Chunrow and hides until her daughter can come to save her. Luckily for Gail, the girls ditch the Hummer and hijack a police car to get to her quicker. When they arrive on the scene, the girls pretend to be the police and distract Chunrow long enough for Gail to getaway. (Gail gets shot in the arm, but she is free!) The real police arrive and take Chunrow into custody and, surprisingly, not Max or Emily.
The girls get community service for stealing multiple cars, driving without a license, and stealing/impersonating a police officer. Cool, cool, cool. White privilege at it’s finest.
Minority Report: Staxx, Nestor, and Detective Torres.
Also Known as Hotwired in Suburbia
This movie is extremely problematic and offensive to people of color. When the majority of POC’s you have in your film are criminals, it is time to revaluate WTF you are doing. Then maybe, don’t do it.
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🔪 (1 Knife, I’d give it zero, but Cory Lee’s involvement earned it one for me.)
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*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime