Lifetime Film Review: Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader (dir by Christie Will Wolf)

Poor Vicky Patterson!

All she wants is …. well, actually she wants a lot but none of it is really too much to ask.  Vicky (pictured above and played by Maiara Walsh) wants to grow up to lead a successful life, like the life led by her wealthy and demanding mother (Gail O’Grady).  She wants to be one of the popular girls at school.  She wants to date a star athlete and she wants to be the girl who throws the legendary party that all of her classmates will be talking about for years after they graduate.  She wants to be the captain of her high school’s cheerleading squad.  Not the co-captain or anything like that.  No, she wants to be the captain.

The only problem is that Vicky is 31 years old and she dropped out of high school a long time ago.  In fact, she dropped out after it became obvious that she would never make the squad, the popular girls would never accept her, and she’d never be able to make her mother happy.  So, now, Vicky is working in a dead-end job at an outlet store and supporting her good-for-nothing boyfriend, Darren (Matty Finochio).  When Vicky talks about going back to night school and maybe even trying to earn a degree, her mother informs her that she’s too old to have any hope of successfully breaking into any worthwhile industry.  In short, Vicky’s life is pretty much over.

However, Caitlyn’s life has just begun!  Caitlyn is what Vicky starts calling herself after she steals the identity of one of her co-workers.  As Caitlyn, Vicky enrolls herself at the local high school.  She tells all of her new classmates that she’s 18 years old and that she and her mom have just moved to town.  As Caitlyn, Vicky finally makes the cheerleading squad and gets to experience the life about which she’s spent the past decade dreaming.  Suddenly, she’s hanging out with the popular crowd.  She’s got an athletic boyfriend.  She’s got a future to which she can actually look forward!

Of course, there are some problems.  No solution is ever perfect.  For one thing, Darren wants to know why his girlfriend is suddenly dressing like a teenager and spending so much time out of the apartment.  For another thing, another girl is named captain of the squad so Vicky has to arrange for her to break her ankle.  (Vegetable oil has so many uses.)  There’s also the fact that one of her fellow cheerleaders, Heather (Karis Cameron), is suspicious that Vicky may not be who she claims to be.  This is a Lifetime film, so you can probably guess that this is going to lead to murder and attempted murder.  But seriously, what else could Vicky do?  Go back to working at Big Lots?

In the long and proud history of Lifetime cheerleading films, Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader is perhaps the best yet.  I don’t say this lightly because there’s been some great Lifetime cheerleading films.  But what sets Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader apart from all the others is the wonderfully unhinged — yet, at times, oddly sympathetic — performance of Maiara Walsh.  As played by Walsh, Vicky is both dangerous and relatable.  I don’t think there’s anyone alive who hasn’t, at some point, wished for a chance to relive a year from their past and make some different choices, if just for the opportunity to see what would happen.  Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader embraces the melodrama as all good Lifetime film should but, at the same time, it also taps into a very real human emotion.  Who hasn’t asked “What if?”

Despite the rather unwieldy title, Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader is an entertaining and undeniably enjoyable Lifetime film.  Director Christie Will Wolf and screenwriter  Barbara Kymlicka craft a fun melodrama that’s rooted just enough in reality to stick with you even after the final cheer.

2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Today, I continue my look back at the year 2016 with the best of Lifetime!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2016!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!


Best Picture
Bad Sister, produced by Robert Ballo, Timothy O. Johnson, Rukmani Jones, Ken Sanders
The Cheerleader Murders, produced by Sharon Bordas, Arthur Edmonds III, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, Jennifer Westin
Girl in the Box, produced by Stephen Kemp, Charles Tremayne, Thomas Vencelides
Inspired to Kill, produced by Johnson Chan, Michael Fiefer, Douglas Howell, Stephanie Rennie, Vincet Reppert, Nathan Schwab, Tammana Shah, Shawn Tira
Manson’s Lost Girls, produced by Nancy Bennett, Kyle A. Clark, Lawrence Ducceschi, Joan Harrison, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Kronish, Steven Michaels, Lina Wong
Mommy’s Little Girl, produced by Tom Berry, Steve Boisvert, Neil Bregman, Cinthia Burke, Christine Conradt, Curtis Crawford, Pierre David, Donald M. Osborne, Andrew E. Pecs
*A Mother’s Escape, produced by Sharon Bordas, Lori Bell Leahy, Michael Leahy, Kristofer McNeeley, Fernando Szew
My Sweet Audrina, produced by Dan Angel, David Calvert-Jones, Harvey Kahn, Kane Lee, Tom Mazza, Mike Rohl, Jane Startz
The Night Stalker, produced by Matthew R. Brady, Patrick G. Ingram, Michel Rangel, Alisa Tager
The Wrong Car, produced by Mark Donadio, Miriam Marcus, Molly Martin, Michael O’Neil

Best Director
Doug Campbell for Bad Sister
Megan Griffiths for The Night Stalker
*Blair Hayes for A Mother’s Escape
David Jackson for The Cheerleader Murders
Leslie Libman for Manson’s Lost Girls
Mike Rohl for My Sweet Audrina

Best Actress
*Tara Buck in A Mother’s Escape
India Eisley in My Sweet Audrina
MacKenzie Mauzy in Manson’s Lost Girls
Alyshia Ochse in Bad Sister
Karissa Lee Staples in Inspired To Kill
Addison Timlin in Girl in the Box

Best Actor
Zane Holtz in Girl in the Box
Lou Diamond Phillips in The Night Stalker
*Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor: The Return
Antonio Sabato, Jr in Inspired To Kill
Jason-Shane Scott in The Wrong Roommate
Jeff Ward in Manson’s Lost Girls

Best Supporting Actress
*Toni Atkins in My Sweet Audrina
Eden Brolin in Manson’s Lost Girls
Zoe De Grande Maison in Pregnant at 17
Beth Grant in A Mother’s Escape
Ryan Newman in Bad Sister
Zelda Williams in Girl in the Box

Best Supporting Actor
Blake Berris in Wrong Swipe
Rogan Christopher in Pregnant at 17
*Rhett Kidd in The Wrong Car
Christian Madsen in Manson’s Lost Girls
William McNamara in The Wrong Roommate
James Tupper in My Sweet Audrina

Best Screenplay
Bad Sister, Barbara Kymlicka
*The Cheerleader Murders, Matt Young
Girl in the Box, Stephen Kemp
Mommy’s Little Girl, Christine Conradt
A Mother’s Escape, Mike Bencivenga, Blair Hayes, Kristofer McNeeley
My Sweet Audrina, Scarlett Lacey

Best Cinematography
The Cheerleader Murders, Denis Maloney
Mommy’s Little Girl, Bill St. John
*A Mother’s Escape, Samuel Calvin
My Sweet Audrina, James Liston
The Night Stalker, Quyen Tran
The Wrong Car, Terrence Hayes

Best Costuming
Girl in the Box, Barb Cardoso, Tania Pedro
Manson’s Lost Girls, Dorothy Amos
*My Sweet Audrina, Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh
The Night Stalker, Rebecca Luke
The Red Dress, Sophie Pace
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, Mary McLeod

Best Editing
The Cheerleader Murders, Eric Potter
Girl in the Box, Julian Hart
Manson’s Lost Girls, Josh Hegard
*A Mother’s Escape, Travis Graalman
My Sweet Audrina, Charles Robichaud
The Night Stalker, Celia Beasley

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Girl in the Box, Claudia Breckenridge, Jen Fisher, Oriana Rossi, Alex Rotundo, Collette Tolen
Killing Mommy, Cinthia Burke, Christie Capustinsky, Kevin Crawley, Kirsten Fairfield, Margaret Harding-Crawley, Corey J. Stone
*Manson’s Lost Girls, Jenni Brown Greenberg, Randi Mavestrand, Kelly Muldoon, Natalie Thimm
A Mother’s Escape, Jenny Hausam, Toni Mario
My Sweet Audrina, Alannah Bilodeau
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, Tara Hadden-Watts, Alexandra Holmes

Best Original Score
911 Nightmare, David Findlay
*The Cheerleader Murders, Cladue Foisy
Inspired To Kill, Brandon Jarrett
A Mother’s Escape, Todd Haberman
My Sweet Audrina, Graeme Coleman
The Wrong Car, Ed Grenga

Best Production Design
Bad Sister, Lia Burton, Danielle Lee
Girl in the Box, Andrew Berry, Jere Sallee
*Manson’s Lost Girls, Cynthia E. Hill, Linda Spheeris
A Mother’s Escape, Zackary Steven Graham
My Sweet Audrina, Tink, Janessa Hitsman
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, James Robbins, Courtney Stockstad, Amanda Christmas

Best Sound
*Center Stage: On Pointe
The Cheerleader Murders
Honeymoon from Hell
I Have Your Children
Inspired to Kill
Toni Braxton: Unreak My Heart

Best Visual Effects
Final Destiny
House of Darkness
The Inherited
Little Girl’s Secret
The Watcher

Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you for keeping us entertained in 2016!

Want to see my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2015?  Click here!

And if you want to see my picks from 2014, click here!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2016 with the 16 worst films of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy