‘The Client List’ review: Jennifer Love Hewitt brings the sexy

It’s a fantasy

Deep in the heart of Texas Kyle and Riley find themselves on hard times when he loses his construction job and is forced to go on disability.  After Riley gives him what he thinks is an expensive birthday gift at a party, he storms off into the house where they have a giant fight revealing the majority of their relationship is fighting with each other due to their financial stresses.

After being out of work for a year, Riley runs into an old co-worker Selena who tells her that Sugarland is the place to be if she wants to get back into the massage game.  Riley decides to check out her friend’s job lead and the owner, Georgia Cummings hires her on the spot without checking any references, leaving Riley excited and grateful. On her first day of work she quickly learns that massage is the last thing on the clients mind and she confronts Georgia about not telling her the truth up front about the clients that want ‘extras’.  Georgia explains that there are girls that only give straight massages and Riley makes it clear that she will be one of those girls.

When she returns home she finds her husband has taken all of his things and left her as his jealousy and insecurity of not being the ‘breadwinner’ anymore gets the better of him.  For a woman that has just lost her husband and is left with a mountain of debt, she doesn’t seem nearly as upset as most people would be.

After a day of giving straight massages and making next to nothing in tips, she faces a hard truth about the business she’s in.  Two weeks after Kyle’s departure, Riley is dealing with collection agencies and bank loans, but instead of downsizing her home, she feels that her children would be thrown into further turmoil if they lost their father and their home so she decides to ask for some of the special needs clients.

The next day Riley goes back into work and talks to Georgia about making more money.  She asks to have one of the guys on the ‘client list’ and her first client is a guy named Wade, a man in the oil business who is a nice guy, but lonely.  It has a lot of the same feel as ‘Pretty Woman’ with Julia Roberts and Richard Gene – the hooker with the heart of gold and the business man that’s just lonely but a nice guy.  Her first experience is a good one and she makes a big payday from Wade, helping her move forward in the business.

Riley starts to make more connections with the clients and begins to feel like she’s really making a difference in helping them through something more than just the massage.  As more and more clients come in as Riley becomes more of a therapist then a masseuse.

Riley leaves work one night and sees a woman in a silver Mercedes staring at her.  Later in the week Riley finds her car has been vandalized and suspects the woman in the Mercedes as the culprit. As it turns out the woman is Valerie Dawson, the wife of one of her clients. Valerie follows Riley to her home where she finally confronts Valerie about writing on her car.  Valerie denies it but pushes Riley about her massage time with her husband.  Riley claims that there’s nothing going on with her sessions with Valerie’s husband and tries to counsel Valerie into working things out with her man.  Unbelievably Valerie believes Riley’s story, thanks her for her advice and ends up going on a trip to Hawaii with her husband.

While the show was a fun fantasy, there are so many plot points that make the show unbelievable and un-relatable for the viewers.  It was difficult to see Riley barely have a reaction to her husband leaving her and even more difficult to believe that she would turn to prostitution before selling her big house and gas guzzling SUV.  The other thing was her client list – while all of the men who wanted ‘extras’ were great eye candy for the viewers, how is it that she ended up with every drop dead gorgeous guy on the planet and no one else?  Where are the ugly trolls?

It was great to see her become a therapist to the clients to give the story a bit more purpose then just a mother falling on hard times, but at the same time it’s  unlikely that all of the men coming to a massage place such as this want to talk about their deep feelings with a stranger.  The thing that tipped the scales into completely unbelievable and crazy was the final showdown between Valerie and Riley.  It was hard to believe that Valerie would feel any sympathy towards a woman that gives ‘extras’ to her clients, including her husband.  In real life Riley would’ve gotten a beat down, not a thank you.

Photo: Lifetime

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