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James A. Contner
she's leaving home and running wild into the arms of danger
This made for TV movie, inspired by actual cases, claims to highlight the case of teenage runaways and ends with the statistics that half of them return home within 2 days. Yes, but do they all befall the drama that faces Carly (Chandra West). Seduced by Brad Winters (Ricky Paull Goldin), a recruiter hustler, she runs from the sleazy boyfriend of her mother Diane (Morgan Fairchild) in Salt Lake to become a stripper in Seattle.
There's nothing really new here, and you're hard pressed to find one positive male figure cos even the police are ineffective. However the narrative does provide a nice turn, when Diane decides to track Carly, and Carly is not seen for a while. This actually benefits the performance of West, who up to this point is all hair and (non-bleached) teeth, but later gets to cry convincingly.
Fairchild can be funny and confrontational - watch how she handles a scene with Brad as he eats an apple with a knife - and her voice has an effective lower register, but she can't provide much emotion. Plus the smoothness of her face seems in contrast to the lines of her neck.
The teleplay has some touches eg a motel called Loveless, the "adult entertainment" club called "Richards", a line that being a stripper pays more than serving burgers, and a funny one about how predators "sit up nights" thinking of new ways to exploit young girls. However there are also oddities - that one is able to make a collect call to an answering machine, and how the operator finds Diana's number just from her name, as if there is only one Diana Astin listed in the country. We also get the cliche of the sisterhood of working girls and the example made of the doomed Adrian (Venus Terzo) as another stripper who tries to help Carly.
Director Chuck Bowman uses weird camera angles, slow motion, lighting portents and the shadow of a rotating blade at Brad's apartment, fake wild applause at the club, photo freeze frames during Brad's photo shoot, poor coverage of Carly in a school dance class, and Bowman is shy about exposing the strippers bodies and Carly in a sex scene.
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