Jennifer Love Hewitt made the rounds of the talk shows last week, promoting Monday night’s Lifetime TV-movie The Client List, and whether she was on The View or Jimmy Fallon, Hewitt wiggled into her seat with the eagerness of a gal who knows how to sell what she’s got.

Which was also pretty much the entire concept of The Client List. This instant-classic-schlock Lifetime movie — “inspired by a true story,” of course — had Hewitt playing Samantha, a former Texas homecoming queen, mother of three, married to a former local football hero, who falls into prostitution.

Samantha was shown to be a near-saint: a devoted wife and mom who never even got irritated by her mom, who constantly spouted folksy aphorisms such as, “I could eat a buttered monkey!” (Mom was played by Cybill Shepherd using her Last Picture Show drawl.)

But with hubby unemployed, Samantha, a “licensed massage therapist,” sought employment with The Kind Touch Health Spa, a strip mall joint that she was shocked to discover traded in sexual services. But with the gals running the place keeping up lines of peppery dialogue like, “Drinks and Viagra are on the house!” and “The little blue pills keep us in the black!,” it wasn’t long before Samantha was squirting whipped cream down a client’s spine and asking him what else she could do for him. Pretty soon, she was getting $1,000 tips, buying luxury items for her family, and snorting a little cocaine to please her customers and complete that gingerbread house (well, make that a snow-fueled gingerbread castle) for a school fund-raiser.

In the manner of all such Lifetime productions, The Client List managed to offer cheap thrills (see Samantha in an array of revealing costumes!) while offering moral uplift (see Samantha get arrested, atone for her sins, and reconcile with her husband!).

The Client List even offered the Lifetime version of a surprise ending. A group of local women — many of them wives of the “clients” — stormed Samantha’s house. After offering a preemptive apology, Samantha was amazed to discover that they’d arrived not to condemn her but to get some bedroom tips. (“What do you do that we don’t?”)

Even after her Samantha hauled out a banana for instruction time, executive producer Hewitt managed to sell every bit of this malarkey with her talent for communicating sincerity and charm.

Did I mention that Samantha’s employers gave her the nom du massage of “Brandy,” “’cause you look like you go down real smooth.” Oh, my goodness! Truly, The Client List was the little gift that kept on giving.

Did you watch The Client List?

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