This TV movie is a drama thriller starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, two of the best comedians of the industry, wait what?! Right from the first scene of this TV movie, I knew I was in for some horrendous entertainment, which also pays tribute to Lifetime channel for the completing 25 years. Don’t let the serious tone fool you. As if the inclusion of Ferrell and Wiig weren’t enough to tip it off, this is a spoof through and through. Melodrama, silly plot points, and gratuitous use of slow motion takes abound in this take on typical Lifetime movies. However, if you are into so-bad-they-are-good movies such as The Room, or can generally appreciate good parody, this can be a lot of fun if you just let it do what it sets out to do.
For non-lifetime viewers this will be a new and enjoyable experience which they could find funny in some scenes given the 2 comedy experts involved in it, but you need to have seen at least one Lifetime movie (which I unfortunately have) to understand the replicated elements that are included in this anniversary. It’s not a parody per-se because they didn’t have to exaggerate the already overly dramatized bits which are usually found in Lifetime movies and which some of their casual viewers find hilarious, it’s simply a replication of those but bunched together in a single movie.
The story follows Robert Benson (Will Ferrell), a successful financial author and Sarah Benson (Kristen Wiig), an organic farmer who after five years of the tragic loss of their second child, an unborn boy decide to adopt from a college drop out Bridget (Jessica Lowdnes). In order to help her out in her last stages, they ask her to move in with them, & as expected she has an exterior motive. What can that be? Now here is something you don’t see everyday, or at least in a long while: a deadpan, totally serious, almost (sometimes) dramatic take on Lifetime movies-of-the-week on Lifetime. But what a strange, entertaining beast this is. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it – is this really trying to be serious? How much of this is supposed to be a joke or a comedy? One may go into watching this with Ferrell and Wiig at the top of the cast and wonder what’s up, if this is going to lampoon Lifetime movies. I should say it does, but not as much as I thought it would, or rather it’s in small doses. There are lines and scenarios that are very funny, such as referring to the main couple’s daughter’s condition: “You know the dangers of diabetic ketoacidosis!” Or the fact that Ferrell’s character, Robert Benson, is now a reformed alcoholic who used to go on benders during his book tours for books on financial advice.
I thought about other made-for-TV cable movies that come out, like the Sharknado movies and the like on the SyFy channel, which probably have about the same self-awareness as this one. But I never see the actors in those movies – many of them are all but winking at the camera as they go to collect their quick paychecks to get eaten by CGI sharknados or Megapythons or whatever. Ferrell, Wiig and company aren’t out to make anything cheap or silly here (though maybe the last scene is goofy, perhaps just like a Lifetime movie). The funny thing is, because Ferrell and Wiig and co-star Jessica Lowdnes play everything completely straight – and Ferrell and Wiig are better actors than a Lifetime movie should ever deserve – and it’s all believable, sometimes verging on maybe, kinda, sorta being dramatic in a *good* way, until one realizes what they’re saying, more often than not, is absurd, as are the situations they get themselves in.
The tropes are all recognizable if one is into Lifetime movies, and that’s also the idea, from the happy white family and the “bad” girl that comes in to make things chaotic. It’s not something that can be easily parsed into ‘Oh, it’s just a parody’ or ‘Oh, it’s actually just another Lifetime movie with these actors’. I found myself laughing many times while watching, if not during every scene. There are some obvious jokes here, for example: So many SLO-MO dramatic scenes. Including zooming in on high heels at the end, A conservative financial author having young groupies, the family pictures (look at Ferrell‘s face), the cop “So there is a possibility Bridgette Jones hasn’t been living here?” stating the obvious right after Ferrell and Wiig just identified the picture, the dock after 6 years later, is left as a pile of broken wood, the speech on the bench between Robert and Bridgette, the way Wiig and Ferrell both lay motionless after being knocked out was exactly the same way (perfectly flat, like a dummy), cliche’ quotes “I’m your new MOMMY now!” “Look what you did to our FAMILY!” and “Let’s keep this our little SECRET!”, Ferrell emerges from a smoke-filled garage (after being shot twice in the arm) and carrying Wiig out as if he forgot he just got shot, Boyfriend gets shot in the gut, then runs around the cabin packing as if he forgot he just got shot, Will Ferrell overcoming his ridiculous fears of boating to save his daughter. & of course the over the top dance sequence at the end! Will Ferell and Kristen Wiig actually did a pretty good job in their serious roles, Will Ferrell especially i thought for the most part got me to see him as a serious character rather than the funny guy, so i wouldn’t mind seeing him do more of this. Jessica Lowndes was downright entertaining throughout. Whether it was her gorgeous looks or how her acting progressed through her character’s development.
On the whole, A Deadly Adoption, is a true tongue in cheek Lifetime movie, which can be enjoyed mainly due to its failing serious tone. Do watch this if you enjoys spoofs, bad (in a good way) movies! According to me watching Will Ferrell and beautiful women in a purposely bad script isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours. Weird but hilarious!
Overall Rating: 7.9
Director – Rachel Goldenberg
Starring – Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Lowndes
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 90 minutes
Network – Lifetime