Last night Lifetime gave us an early Valentine’s gift with their new movie The Girl He Met Online. Before you ask, it was not just a gender-swapped version of their movie The Boy She Met Online, although both films obviously warn of the dangers of online dating. According to Lifetime, if you meet someone online, whether it be a boy or a girl or a wife or a husband, your life will unravel. It’ll extra-unravel if you’re 17 at the time. Word to the wise: Don’t be 17.
Our titular “Girl” is Gillian Casey (Yvonne Zima), who always looks and sounds like she’s this close to falling asleep. We’re first introduced to her during a break-up call from her boyfriend Tony (Scott Gibson). To say she doesn’t take it well is a bit of an understatement. She goes over to his house while he’s out, turns on classical music to really set the villain tone, and trashes all his belongings. That includes spray-painting over his priceless painting, taking a scissor to his clothes while making a terrible “cutting ties” pun, and leaving cheese in his car. Clearly she’s seen the suitcase episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and totally sided with Ray. That’s really all the info I needed to know she’s evil.
Our titular “He” is Andy Collins (Shawn Roberts), an Internet marketing consultant in the mood for love. In his online profile he admits that he’s just looking for what every guy wants… SEX. Wait, not sex. Just “someone to laugh with.” Eh, that’s just a polite way of saying sex. Gillian is into it, so they set up a coffee date.
We already kind of know she’s not who he thinks she is from reading the plot description and also from that whole cheese-in-the-car thing, but we really know it when we learn that she’s sleeping with her married boss — an OBGYN, which opens up so many innuendo opportunities this movie fails miserably at taking advantage of — in exchange for a car and a promotion to business manager.
Gillian and Andy really hit it off on their coffee date, so much so that they immediately star together in a romantic montage set to corny music in which they feed each other raspberries, ride through the city in a rickshaw, and playfully cook dinner. Whoa, slow down there, you two. Haven’t you ever heard that the silly montage isn’t supposed to happen until the third date?
Gillian lives with her
past trauma adoptive mother (Mary-Margaret Humes), who’s recovering from a heart attack. Based on how long it takes Gillian to call 911 in the flashback to the incident, she doesn’t like her mother very much. Gillian is embarrassed of her and the non-mansion where they live, so she avoids having Andy over at all costs. She’s also poor, so she resorts to stealing a blouse to wear while accompanying him to a fancy work event.
And lo and behold! Doty (it’s IMDb’s spelling, I don’t get it either), the very owner of the store from which Gillian shoplifted, is at the same work event, and she recognizes Gillian and her mismatched hair and eyebrows immediately. Gillian covers up the blouse by borrowing Andy’s jacket, but Doty still sees it and gives her plenty of passive-aggressive hints that she knows what she did. When Gillian gets home she rips the blouse off like the Hulk. You won’t like her when she’s angry… or any other time.
Gillian’s consta-whisper still hasn’t thrown up any red flags for Andy, so he invites her to have dinner with his mother and sister. His sister Heather (Samantha Madely) is suspicious of Gillian, and she explains to her mom later that “ex-husbands can do that to you.” They laugh and laugh, unaware that Heather’s laughing days are numbered. Dun dun duuun.
Meanwhile Tony gets a call from his maid while he’s in Estonia (???) and learns that his house has been trashed. He returns and demands Gillian pay him. Unfortunately he won’t accept stolen buttonless blouses as payment, so she’s forced to arrange a rendezvous at a hotel with her boss to get the money. She tells Andy she’s going to New York with her mother, and she tells her mother she’s going to Baltimore with Andy. Just like ’90s sitcom teens did when they didn’t want their parents to know where they were. I guess real teens did that too, but I was an adolescent angel so I wouldn’t know.
Before she leaves, Gillian pays a visit to Doty at the clothing store. She gives her a few bucks and throws the ruined blouse at her, saying she’ll burn the store to the ground if she tells anyone her secret. Then she makes sure to steal a bra on her way out. Does this store not have ANY security tags?!
Because this movie operates according to the same rules of coincidence as a romantic comedy, Andy’s sister Heather just so happens to be at the same hotel where Gillian is meeting her boss, and she spots them canoodling in the elevator. She tells the front desk clerk she just saw the last person she’d expect, and he responds, “You’d be surprised how often that happens here at the hotel.” Nice way of explaining away the second ridiculous coincidence of the movie by using the classic “Hotel of Coincidences” excuse. Touche, Lifetime.
Heather leaves a message on Andy’s phone telling him what she saw, and she and Gillian have a confrontation that moves into the stairwell, at which point I immediately knew Heather was a goner. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from Lifetime movies, other than to keep a tape recorder in my bag at all times, it’s to never have an argument next to a staircase. Obviously Gillian pushes Heather and kills her, then walks nonchalantly back upstairs to drug her boss-lover with sleeping pills.
Andy finally listens to Heather’s voicemail message after her death, and when he goes to look for Gillian at her mom’s house he learns that she’s been lying to him about a lot of things. Uhh, NO DUH. Meanwhile Gillian’s boss finds out that she drugged him and fires her, and she’s forced to pay Tony off by giving him the nice car she earned through all her
sex hard work. Everything’s unraveling for her, so it’s kind of a bad time for her adoptive mother to start trying to be friends with her.
Naturally Gillian starts to strangle her mom in their house, but luckily Andy and a cop show up just in time, having discovered that Gillian has a history of assault. It was just that one time she hit her cheating boyfriend over the head with a bottle. No biggie. Gillian is arrested and there was a split-second where I thought Andy was going to hook up with her mom. They don’t hook up as far as we’re told, but they do become BFFs and visit Heather’s grave together. Thankfully this movie doesn’t do that awful thing where they kill someone off and have everybody live happily ever after without mentioning them again. RIP Heather. Also RIP my desire to try Internet dating.