We've been waiting a long time for the rumored Lifetime movie starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. At first, we thought the whole thing was an elaborate joke played on TV viewers by the two Saturday Night Live veterans. Then, we heard it was stuck in development hell and wouldn't surface in our lifetimes. But all our fears have been for naught, because on June 11, we finally got to see the first teaser for A Deadly Adoption, as well as the poster for the TV-movie. We also know when we'll finally be able to feast our eyes on what is sure to be nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece: Lifetime will air the movie on Sat., June 20 at 8 p.m. ET.
The 20-second clip is full of the typical dramatic schmaltz the network has built its name on. First we see a crazed-looking woman driving down the road with a little girl in the passenger seat. Then the shot flips to a scared-looking Ferrell, who's walking determinedly toward the car. Finally, there's Wiig, who's pointing a gun and glaring. The woman accelerates and Ferrell dives out of the way just before she hits him. Over this footage, we hear a tearful female voice saying, "We could have had everything. We could have had a happy life together. You're a selfish coward and a liar, just like the rest of them." End scene.
If Wiig and Ferrell weren't starring in A Deadly Adoption, it would be easy to write the film off as an overly dramatic tearjerker. But these two are big stars and smart comedians. Their presence indicates that the movie is more of a parody of the Lifetime brand than a sincere project. And if it is a parody, than the network's choice to make A Deadly Adoption indicates a new direction for the media company: one that understands its own image, as is playing off it as a way to sneak in smarter material.
Lifetime's new scripted series, UnREAL, about the behind-the-scenes machinations of a Bachelor-style show, follows this same pattern. UnREAL has gotten great press from critics and currently has a 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Lifetime has long been known for its over-the-top, highly dramatized "reality" programming and sappy movies. But lately its projects indicate that the channel is now aiming for something greater.