Harlequin: Our Review of ‘Brazen’

Posted in What's Streaming? by - January 13, 2022
Harlequin: Our Review of ‘Brazen’

It’s always interesting to see women tell stories even if the end result is a bit or a lot of a mess. Monika Mitchell’s Brazen stars Alyssa Milano, who also serves as an executive producer. One of the three screenwriters here is Edithe Swensen. Swensen, by the way, was in the writer’s room in one of Milano’s old shows, Charmed. Swensen and company are adapting Nora Roberts’ novel Brazen Virtue. This reminds me that I should read again even if what I read ends up being trash.

Anyway in this story, Milano plays Grace, a true crime writer and criminal profiler who visits her sister Kathleen (Emilie Ullerup) in DC while also beginning to date the woodworking cop next door, Ed (Sam Page). After their ok first date, she walks back home only to find her sister’s dead body. There are drone shots of cop cars parked in front of the sister’s home to show off the fact that this movie has a budget.

I guess it’s strange that despite writing about the women behind this project, I’m going to admit about my equal interest in Page. Page is one the actors showrunners hire if they wanted a frat boy with a secret but also clean. He had other work since Mad Men and that one episode of Scandal but it’s been a decade since I saw him in anything. He aged out of those frat boy roles since then. So this movie ostensibly asks what would happen if a 90’s Gary Cole was a love interest in a harlequin TV movie but hotter.

Page is also a lankier version of that love interest archetype. I want all actors to succeed but this makes me wonder for a better place for him than this. At 46, he’s an appropriate love interest for Milano, who is 50. We’re all getting old too. Anyway, it’s an interesting detail that their love story is taking place in a house that Ed keeps perpetually renovating. They literally sleep together in a couch which I have no dignity but I still wouldn’t. That’s more interesting than the two of them, who have little chemistry to speak of.

Also, it’s only been January and two of the movies I’ve seen this year so far are romance movies with bad dialogue. Kathleen, by the way, is a private school teacher who moonlights as a cam girl. (The novel originally has Kathleen as a phone sex operator). And the main suspect is Grace ex-brother in law, who is a politician. Other suspects include the two students who know about her second career.

While Ed and his partner (Malachi Weir) hands the warrant to one of the students’ rich dads, the guy basically says “This search warrant is just fishing!” I know how important this guy must be in this fictional world, but duh. Anyway, this movie is bad. I know I’m just an armchair true crime fan so grain of salt. But this gets a lot of things wrong about cam work, cops, rich people. It also gets a lot more things that I can’t be bothered enough to list.

Watch Brazen on Netflix.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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