“He was the wrong stepfather!” Principal Higgins (Vivica A. Fox) announces towards the end of The Wrong Stepfather and she’s got a point.
Admittedly, Craig (Corin Nemec) might seem like a nice guy. He’s a college guidance counselor who specializes in helping out single moms who are worried that their daughters might not be able to get into college. Craig will do anything to help out. He rewrite an admissions essay. He’ll change grades. He’ll do just about anything. Craig is all about family and nothing brings a family together like someone getting into a good college. Of course, sometimes might break the law or violate the code of ethics in his quest to get everyone into college but that’s just to make sure that no one ever snitches on him. I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s all about family!
Unfortunately, Craig is so into family that it sometimes leads to him going a little bit crazy. Yes, Craig is a bit unhinged. Sarah (Sydney Malakeh) suspects as much as soon as she meets Craig but, unfortunately, Craig is dating her mom (Krista Allen) and everyone else seems to be crazy about him. Everyone seems to believe that Craig will make the perfect stepfather! Everyone except for Sarah that is.
The Wrong Stepfather is not only an entry in Lifetime’s Wrong series but it’s also basically a remake of the classic thriller, The Stepfather. Corin Nemec steps into the shoes of Terry O’Quinn, playing the role of the friendly guy who has anger issues and is just a little bit too obsessed with creating the perfect family. Nemec does a pretty good job with the role. Nemec’s a naturally likable actor so any film that features him as a villain will automatically feel a bit subversive. Nemec’s best scenes are the ones where he intimidates the high school guidance counselor, Mr. Crane (William McNamara). Nemec and McNamara are two pros when it comes to handling Lifetime melodrama and it’s fun to watch them play off of each other.
As for the rest of the film, I enjoyed it. You pretty much know that Craig is going to be bad news as soon as he shows up but that sense of familiarity is one of the things that makes a film like this fun. You don’t necessarily watch a Lifetime film to be surprised. Instead, you watch them with the knowledge that you will always be one step ahead of the other people in the film. Sydney Malakeh and Krista Allen make for a believe mother-and-daughter team and it must be said that, for a family that’s apparently struggling financially, they live in a very nice house. Never underestimate the importance of a nice house in a Lifetime film. It’s one of the reasons why so many of us watch them!
Anyway, Craig may indeed be the wrong stepfather but he’s the right villain for this movie. Watch it the next time you’re wondering how you’re ever going to be able to pay for college. Maybe the wrong stepfather could help you out!