Plot: Sean (Kevin Sizemore) and his wife Lisa (Elisabeth Harnois) have been going through some tough times, as Sean lost his job, Lisa had a miscarriage, and the stress has caused division within their marriage. But they worked through the emotional turmoil and financial woes, hoping that things would turn around and there seems to be a light ahead. Lisa’s graphic design business has built some steam and Sean is about to start a new job as a copywriter, so the couple is hopeful this marks the end of the downturn and a brighter future is on the horizon. Once at work he meets his assistant Jen (Cerina Vincent), a charismatic and ambitious woman, traits that she quickly puts to use to help her new boss on a project. As helpful as she becomes, she starts to take more than a professional interest in Sean or at least he thinks so. Is she just someone who takes her work seriously and wants to see Sean succeed, or does she have some kind of dark, obsessive plan in mind?
Entertainment Value: The Work Wife is an often over the top melodrama, the kind of thriller you’d expect to find on Lifetime, so that will likely signal your level of interest in this one. I appreciate the genre, especially when the tone is over the top and the movie has a capable villain, both of which are true in this case. I think the latter is one reason this movie is so fun to watch, as Cerina Vincent is such a predator, while Kevin Sizemore comes off like a hapless rube. The two have some hilarious interactions and that dynamic adds a lot to the b movie appeal of The Work Wife. The narrative is one we’ve seen time and again, but has more unintentional humor than usual, thanks again to what a doofus Sizemore’s Sean is. He is oblivious and beyond over his head with Vincent’s seductive Jen, so what would normally be sexual tension feels almost like she’s just making fun of the dude. But it is fun to watch and the movie tacks on a good amount of melodrama and dysfunction, not to mention a brisk pace that keeps you reeled in to see what that idiot Sean does next. So if you want a serious, tense thriller, this isn’t likely to qualify, but for those who need melodrama, unintentional humor, and a smoking hot villain, The Work Wife is worth a look.
As you can tell from the above, I had fun with the dynamic between Cerina Vincent and Kevin Sizemore in this one. Vincent is on point as the office seductress and just radiates hot, but psycho vibes, the kind of villain the genre thrives on. She goes for it and dials up the drama, going over the top often, but only when the role really needs it to give things that extra boost. I also love that she handles the quieter aspects of the character, such as when she uses emotional manipulation or passive aggressive banter, it is a total blast to watch and she nails it all. I think Vincent does her best to make the scenes with Sizmore work, but he is a total dud in this movie. I don’t know if the material is to blame or he just decided on such an unlikable approach, but he comes off as a schlub and his bond with Vincent’s Jen is beyond a reach. Her interest in him never feels natural, but it does make her seem even crazier, so perhaps that was the point. In the end, the ridiculous dynamic adds some humorous moments, so it is tough to knock it. The cast also includes Elisabeth Harnois, Jay Pickett, and Preeti Desai.