Lifetime Film Review: The Wrong Cheerleader (dir by David DeCoteau)


“You messed with the wrong cheerleader!” Vivica A. Fox announced towards the end of Lifetime’s The Wrong Cheerleader.

“Hell yeah, he did!” I shouted back at the television.

Now, one reason why I yelled that response is because Vivica A. Fox is a totally badass.  She has appeared in almost every installment of Lifetime’s “Wrong” franchise and she always plays a no-nonsense authority figure that no one in their right mind would want to mess with.  When Vivica A. Fox gives you advice, you better listen.  And when she gets mad at you, you better run because she does not mess around!

The other reason I cheered was because she was telling off one of the most unsympathetic and evil abusers to ever appear in a Lifetime film.  After spending two hours watching this guy gaslight and threaten his girlfriend, I was ready for Vivica to show up and verbally kick his ass and she did not disappoint.

Fox plays Coach Flynn in The Wrong Cheerleader.  She’s the cheerleading coach at the local high school and it’s a job that she takes very seriously.  As she explains to a new recruit, being a part of the squad means that you’re a part of a family.  When a prospective cheerleader says that she understands what Flynn means, the Coach tells her that she won’t be capable of understanding until she actually experiences it for herself.  And I’m just going to say that I probably would have been scared to death of Coach Flynn in high school because she would have taken one look at me and probably told me to drop the attitude, stop showing so much skin, and behave like a responsible young lady.  And I probably would have done it too because, seriously, you don’t want Coach Flynn mad at you.

Coach Flynn is concerned about her newest cheerleader, Becky (Cristine Prosperi).  Becky is dating Rob (David Meza) and, from the minute he first shows up at school, it’ obvious that Rob has issues.  Along with having a violent temper, Rob is a relentless manipulator, the type of guy who tells Becky that everything he does wrong is because of how much he loves her.  When he gets into a fight, he tells Becky that it was because he was defending her and that it’s actually her fault because she was wearing her cheerleading uniform.  If Becky so much as looks in the direction of another guy, Rob loses his temper.  Rob, of course, has a hundred excuses for his behavior, most of them having to do with his dysfunctional family life.  Everyone can see through Rob.  Everyone, it seems, but Becky.

If you’re looking for an expose into the sordid world of high school cheerleading, you’ll probably be disappointed with The Wrong Cheerleader.  To be honest, Coach Flynn could have been a soccer coach and Becky a goalie without changing the film’s plot.  (Though “You messed with the wrong goalie!,” doesn’t have as much of a ring to it as “You messed with the wrong cheerleader!”)  But no matter.  The film does a pretty good job of revealing the techniques that an abuser will use to maintain control over the woman that he’s abusing.  Anyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship will recognize exactly what Rob is doing.  The film also makes the very important point that if you do witness abuse, you need to say something.  Just shrugging away the problem or hoping that things will somehow get better is not a solution.

For those of us who remember her as the always quirky Imogen on Degrassi, it’s interesting to see Cristine Prosperi playing a far more conventional character in this film but she does a good job in the role and she still looks young enough to pass for a high school student.  (The same could not be said of some of her classmates.)  David Meza does a good job playing up his character’s manipulative nature and, of course, Vivica A. Fox is a total badass as Coach Flynn.

The Wrong Cheerleader isn’t quite as over-the-top as most Lifetime cheerleading films but it has a good and heartfelt message and that’s definitely worth something.

Cleaning Out the DVR: The Wrong Crush (dir by David DeCoteau)


(Lisa is currently in the process of cleaning out her DVR!  It’s going to take a while because Lisa has over 200 things recorded.  However, one thing is for sure: it’s all getting erased on January 15th.  Will Lisa be able to watch everything before doomsday?  Keep checking here to find out!  She recorded The Wrong Crush off of Lifetime on July 2nd!)

The mistakes of the past.  Can we overcome them?  Can we forgive ourselves?  Can we convince others to forgive us?  Can we ever recover or are we destined to be forever punished?

These are some of the questions asked in The Wrong Crush.  Veteran Lifetime viewers will, of course, immediately recognize that this is one of the many “wrong” films that David DeCoteau has directed for Lifetime.  There’s also The Wrong Roommate, The Wrong Student, and The Wrong Child.  Myself, I always look forward to the latest “Wrong” film because they’re usually enjoyably (and intentionally) melodramatic and, as a director, DeCoteau always seems to have a sense of humor about going through all the of the required Lifetime “beats.”  At times, the characters in these films almost seem to be aware that they’re appearing in a Lifetime film.  Also, DeCoteau always seems to film in the nicest houses in Canada.  One of the fun things about watching a Lifetime film is getting to see where everyone lives and the Wrong films always seem to take place in the right homes.

Anyway, in this one, Victoria Konefal plays Amelia.  A few years ago, Amelia did nothing but party and drink.  But then, after a car crash claimed the life of her best friend, Amelia straightened out her life.  Though she’s still on probation and her own mother (Lesli Kay) doesn’t seem to want to have much to do with her, Amelia is doing her best not to fall back into her old ways.  She doesn’t drink.  She goes to therapy, even though she rarely agrees with what her therapist has to say.  She’s channeled her anger into running and now, she’s the star of her high school’s track team.  It even appears that she might set a few records before the year is over.

She’s even got a boyfriend.  Well, kinda.  Scott (Pedro Correa) is nice and super supportive but he only moved to town a year ago so he doesn’t know all of the details about Amelia’s former life.  He’s heard rumors but he doesn’t know that she’s on probation or that some people still blame her for the death of her friend.  Whenever he starts to get too close, Amelia pushes him away.

Plus, there’s a new guy at school!  Jake (Ricardo Hoyos) is handsome, charming, and polite.  And, like Amelia, he’s got some secrets in his past.  He was kicked out of military school, for one thing.  Soon, Jake and Amelia are growing close.  Scott may not like it but Scott should be more concerned with the drugs that Jake’s hidden in his locker.  See, Jake has an agenda of his own.  He also has a really big knife that he’s not afraid to use…

For the most part, The Wrong Crush is an enjoyable Lifetime melodrama but Amelia’s strained relationship with her mother and her struggle to forgive herself serve to give this film a little more emotional resonance than the other Wrong films.  Victoria Konefal and Lesli Kay both gave good performances and Ricardo Hoyos really threw himself into the role of Jake.  Those who know Hoyos best for playing sweet-but-stupid Zig on Degrassi will be in for a surprise when they watch The Wrong Crush.