A Deadly Adoption marks by far what has been one of the more intriguing movie experiences in recent times. In April of this year, news leaked that Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig were making a Lifetime flick. And not just making… it had already been shot and was supposed to air in secret and let the channel’s viewers discover on their own that a pair of film comedy’s biggest stars were in it. The audacity factor alone is commendable and Ferrell was reportedly upset when the leak occurred. For two months, we’ve been left wondering whether A Deadly Adoption would play more like a spoof or if the filmmakers would commit to truly shooting a run of the mill Lifetime pic.
The answer is the latter and it’s about as disconcerting as it sounds. Here we have Ferrell as Robert, a well known financial advice author with Wiig’s Sarah as his organic food stand owning wife. As we open, Sarah is pregnant with the couple’s second child. The baby is lost when she has a slow motion accident slipping off the dock of their fancy New England home. It scars them both, but leaves Robert overly protective of his first born daughter who is, of course, diabetic.
Soon they have the possibility of adopting a baby boy from the six months pregnant bombshell Bridget (Jessica Lowndes). She moves in with the couple and soon, in Lifetime fashion, twists and turns keep coming. When I say true Lifetime fashion – I mean it. This is the 25th year that the network has been in the movie business and their hundreds of efforts are mostly interchangeable. A Deadly Adoption stands out solely because of surprising talent that chose to be involved. Yet it’s played straight with all the time tested cliches we’ve come to anticipate. In addition to the diabetic youngster, there’s the gay best friend. The bad cell phone reception. The alcoholism and infidelity.
The fear from me is that this experiment would feel like that and only that. It often holds true, but I’ll be damned if the sight of Ferrell and Wiig doing this isn’t occasionally humorous. Does it sustain its novelty factor for 85 minutes? Not really, but the final scene pays off by being the only one going for genuine laughs and it worked for me. There’s also a moment when the organic loving Sarah has to turn down Bridget’s food request for a big bowl of ice cream. She feels bad turning down the guilty pleasure hunger desires of her expectant guest. For a quarter century, these Lifetime movies have been a lot of people’s big bowl of ice cream. Seeing the two leads join in the ridiculousness is surreal but works better than it probably should.
**1/2 (out of four)