The combination of button-pushing melodrama and pulpy thrills that makes up the plot of essentially every Lifetime TV movie is only part of the genre’s soapy appeal: The other part, of course, is the hilariously straight-faced performances that bring out the high camp in concepts like Taken In Broad Daylight and Every Mother’s Worst Fear. Those performances often come from actors who are slightly past the point in their careers where they can afford to be choosy (the aforementioned films starred past-their-prime versions of James Van Der Beek and Cheryl Ladd), but in what is perhaps the network’s buzziest film–this Sunday’s A Deadly Adoption–the stars who will be hamming it up are box office megastars who are still pretty close to the top of their game: Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell.
The trailer for A Deadly Adoption makes clear that the appeal in doing a Lifetime movie for the two stars wasn’t the chance to wink at the camera in an extended parody. Instead, they both appear fully committed to the premise of playing a married couple whose adoption surrogate has a dark agenda. That fits the tenor of both stars’ careers–they both balance their over-the-top approaches to Anchorman/Bridesmaids-style comedy with sensitive character studies like Welcome To Me and Everything Must Go–and makes the first glimpse of their work in A Deadly Adoption even funnier to watch: They can both play straight, and it’s a whole lot funnier to see them push to make this the most Lifetimey movie ever.
A Deadly Adoption premieres on the network on Sunday night, and it seems destined for the sort of perfect social media storm that cable networks have been desperately trying to recreate since the first time Twitter was attacked by a #sharknado. If it’s a trainwreck–and it probably will be–it’ll be the kind that happens because the conductor is aiming to take things off the rails, and that’ll be fun to watch with a group.