Television review

‘Dirty Little Secret’ ripped from tabloid TV


San Francisco Chronicle

Are you suffering from withdrawal now that HLN has reduced its saturation coverage of the Jodi Arias murder case and turned its focus on the George Zimmerman trial? The Lifetime channel feels your pain and rides to the rescue with Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret, premiering Saturday.

It would be easy to get indignant about the film’s low quality, the script’s unintentional howlers and the unseemliness of rushing the Arias film onto the small screen only weeks after she was found guilty of killing lover Travis Alexander. (The jury was convinced she stabbed him 27 times and fired a bullet into his head in 2008. Arias claimed self-defense.) But Lifetime knows its audience.

That said, watching the movie without benefit of an HLN addiction, it doesn’t always make sense. Yes, Arias (Tania Raymonde, Lost), comes off as a narcissistic, sexually manipulative psycho, but because we never get a convincing take on Alexander (Jesse Lee Soffer, The Mob Doctor), the film is confusing.

Arias and Alexander meet when he’s giving a motivational talk. She’s so taken with him, she follows him into the men’s room. It takes a while for their relationship to get physical, in part because Alexander is a practicing Mormon and tries to adhere to the teachings of his church.

Arias turns on the sexual charm and Alexander folds. His friends are wary of Arias, which is why she does everything she can to keep them away.

However, realizing that Alexander will only marry a fellow Mormon, Jodi decides to convert. She springs the news on Alexander when they are both in the pool, and follows up by diving underwater to perform oral sex on him.

Soon enough, Arias overplays her hand by texting replies to messages Alexander gets from other women, and making a point of flaunting the true nature of their relationship in front of his Mormon friends. When Alexander ends the affair, Arias is one boiled bunny away from Fatal Attraction.

Alexander at first seems to kick some of his religious beliefs to the curb too quickly for credibility, but we can almost accept the power of lust in this case. What we can’t accept in the film is why, after realizing Arias is a psycho stalker, he gives in to lust a second time.

In real life, we know it happened, but the script, by Richard Blaney and Gregory Small, doesn’t make us believe it at all. The screenwriters and director Jace Alexander are wise to focus almost exclusively on the relationship and only briefly on the Arias trial.

For Arias addicts, Dirty Little Secret is likely to be only a momentary fix. But not to worry: The jury may have found her guilty of killing Alexander, but it deadlocked on what her punishment should be. That means there will be a whole new trial on the penalty phase of the case, and you can bet Nancy Grace is already sharpening her nails and whitening her teeth.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Animal Island: End kitten's biting 'play' with a sock toy

    Q: We adopted a kitten when she was 10 weeks old. She is now 5 months old and loves to be cuddled and is very affectionate. She also likes to grab your arm and hold on with her claws and also bites. One minute she is cuddling with you, and then suddenly she will just bite you. We have tried spraying her with water, which works at that moment, but then she will do it again a short time later. Is this a kitten thing, or is there something we can do to stop this?

  • Talking Dogs: Salutes and tips for owning a canine friend

    Dog lovers had cause to rejoice the last week of August, as the 25th was National Dog Day. This "Howliday" was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of dogs in shelters - and bring attention to the ridiculously high numbers of such dogs. If you've decided you're ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog, consider finding your new companion at your local shelter or a pure breed rescue organization.

  • What a treat! Your dog might enjoy a kennel stay: study

    Many dog owners have had their vacations marred because they were so worried about how little Scruffy was faring in the boarding kennel back home.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category