High Stakes

Elisha Cuthbert in My Daughter's Secret Life (2001) (aka: Lucky Girl)

With her father and younger brother always talking sports and spreads it is little wonder that teenager Katlin Palmerston (Elisha Cuthbert) has picked up a thing or two along the way about gambling. It is why she goes from playing poker and doing scratch cards to running a pool at the school she attends, in doing so stealing business from others at school who do the same. But whilst Katlin originally was just gambling to raise money for a trip to Europe the excitement of making easy money takes over and she doesn't get out when the going is good. Soon Katlin has not only lost all the money she won but is gambling to try and get the money she owes others. It not only leads to tension between Katlin and her family but also making some terrible decisions as things get desperate and she starts stealing and borrowing money.

Let me do something I rarely do and mention a rating "My Daughter's Secret Life" has got on another significant movie website, it is a lot higher than you would normal see for a TV movie and that I am sure is down to the Elisha Cuthbert fan club rating this movie up. Now I am not saying that "My Daughter's Secret Life", or "Lucky Girl" as it is also known, is a bad movie, heck having been a gambler myself the message the movie is trying to get across is a good one. What I am saying is that "My Daughter's Secret Life" is only an average made for TV drama about the perils of gambling aimed at a teen audience.

So what does that mean? Well like so many of these movies what you get in "My Daughter's Secret Life" is the initial buzz which Katlin feels when she can't seem to lose and is making more money she could ever imagine. Of course it all goes wrong and she doesn't stop before it is too late ending up in debt to some unsavoury characters leading to her making one bad decision after another. It is all typical of this type of story and other than showing Katlin ending up running her own pool at one point it doesn't deliver too much that other TV movies about the dangers of gambling haven't covered.

But of course the draw of "My Daughter's Secret Life" is Elisha Cuthbert and she certainly brings a lot of teen appeal to the movie which is a good thing when it comes to making this movie work for a teen audience. But beyond Cuthbert's character the rest of the cast is a generic bunch as is a lot of the dialogue. In fact at times the movie gets too sensational when it comes to what Katlin gets involved in.

What this all boils down to is that "My Daughter's Secret Life" probably does entertain fans of Elisha Cuthbert more than general movie fans. But it has its plus points with it managing to deliver a drama about the perils of gambling at a teen level.

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