Courtesy Lifetime

An out-and-out Lifetime movie, performed with a slight but very precise ironic distancing

June 21, 2015 12:00 AM

Well, what the hell was that?

A Deadly Adoption, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig‘s secretive Lifetime movie project, wasn’t strictly a parody of Lifetime movies.

It was, more accurately, an out-and-out Lifetime movie, just performed with an awareness of the easily mocked conventions of the genre, its clichéd situations and dialogue – “You’re not supposed to be here! I told you to meet me at the cabin!” – all of it performed with a slight but very precise ironic distancing.

That gap, that distance, was so small it could only be measured metrically, perhaps in millimeters.

You knew the man who helped at Wiig’s organic produce stand would be killed. And that this would be an oddly enjoyable moment, because you knew it would happen and yet it had no significance – like the déjà vu you might experience as you ate a Dorito and suspected you had eaten it before.

Adoption, at any rate, was a reminder of how seminal movies like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Fatal Attraction, What Lies Beneath and others traveled by a long, lean aqueduct to eventually water the Lifetime garden. And how easily such material, when performed by clever actors with an appreciation for trash, can be reduced to mere meta compost.

Jessica Lowndes (as Bridget) in A Deadly Adoption
Courtesy Lifetime

Was it snide? Fond? Perverse?

No. It was a Lifetime movie, only not quite – a simulacrum, if that’s even the right word. It was a Jeff Koons Lifetime movie.

It wasn’t any funnier than any other Lifetime movie, including the one that aired before it (I Killed My BFF). Nor was it any worse.

The scenario: Ferrell, a best-selling financial-planning writer, and Wiig (see above) take in a pregnant woman with the intention of adopting her child. There’s more plot than that, but you already know it, don’t you?

Oh, yes, you do. Of course you do.

The evening included a trailer for a new Lifetime movie, Perfect High, starring Bella Thorne. Looks pretty good.

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