What Lisa Watched Last Night #214: The Wrong Real Estate Agent (dir by David DeCoteau)


Last night, I watched the first Lifetime premiere of 2021, The Wrong Real Estate Agent!

Why Was I Watching It?

It was the first Lifetime film of 2021 so how couldn’t I watch it?

Add to that, I love the “Wrong” series.  The “Wrong” films are all directed by David DeCoteau and they all feature Vivica A. Fox in a supporting (or, in this case, a lead) role.  These films are always a lot of fun and, since they’re all filmed in Canada, there’s always chance you might spot someone from Degrassi in the cast.

(Admittedly, The Wrong Real Estate Agent is the rare “Wrong” film to feature no one from Degrassi.  But it’s the first Lifetime film of 2021 so we won’t hold that against it.)

What Was It About?

Julie (Vivica A. Fox) and her daughter Maddie (Alaya Lee Walton) have just moved into a wonderful, beautiful house but, unfortunately, they’re renting from the wrong real estate agent!  Charles (Andres Londono) used to date Julie and it’s obvious that he wants to win her back.  However, Charles’s idea of how to win someone back involves a lot of lies and a lot of murder.

Soon after moving into their new home, Julie and Maddie begin hearing strange sounds and seeing weird movement in the shadows.  Most disturbingly to me, someone has been using the shower when Julie’s not home.  Seriously, you don’t use someone else’s shower without asking first!

And let’s not even get started on the mysterious room that’s always locked off….

What Worked?

Vivica A. Fox has appeared in all of the “Wrong” films but usually, she’s cast in a supporting role.  She usually plays some sort of no nonsense authority figure who shows up at the end of the film to announce, “He messed with the wrong cheerleader” or “He was the wrong wholesale jewelry importer” or something like that.  In The Wrong Real Estate Agent, she played the lead role and it was a nice change of pace.  I thought she did a good job in the lead role, even if Julie sometimes seemed to be impossibly naïve.

Alaya Lee Walton also did a good job as Julie’s daughter, Maddie.  She and Fox were very believable as mother and daughter and their relationship rang true.

Finally, I loved the house!  That may sound like a small compliment but seriously, a good Lifetime film always features a great house.  So far, the “Wrong” series has been very good about using the right house.  If I ever do move to Canada, it’s going to be because of both Degrassi and the numerous Canadian produced Lifetime films that have left me convinced that every house in Toronto is a mansion.

What Did Not Work?

Charles was just a little bit too obviously crazy.  In general, it’s a good idea to suspend your disbelief when it comes to a Lifetime film and to just kind of go with whatever happens but, in this case, Charles really was so obviously unstable that you kind of wondered how anyone played by Vivica A. Fox could be naïve enough to trust him.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Maddie, particularly when she argued with her mom about whether or not she should shut the window in her bedroom.  Her mom thought the open window was an invitation to sickness and danger.  Maddie knew that she had to keep the window so her boyfriend could sneak in and out of the house.  Of course, Maddie couldn’t explain that was the reason why the window needed to be open but, to her credit, Maddie stayed her calm and talked her mom into letting her keep the window open until it was time for bed.  Good job, Maddie!  I wish I had been that good at winning arguments when I was that age.

Lessons Learned

When it comes to renting or buying a house, make sure you’ve got the right real estate agent.  Because the wrong real estate agent will not only try to get you to go out of your price range (that’s something I learned from watching House Hunters) but he’ll eventually try to kill you as well.

The other thing I learned is that every profession has at least one wrong person.  Someday, I’m hoping to see a film called The Wrong Administrative Assistant or maybe The Wrong Stunt Double.  Seriously, this series can go on until the end of time.

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


“She was the wrong wedding planner!” says Detective Jones (Vivica A. Jones) in the Lifetime film, The Wrong Wedding Planner, and Detective Jones has a point!  Typically, a good wedding planner will put together a memorable wedding without trying to kill the bride.  I mean, I’m sure that there have been murderous but talented wedding planners in the past because, let’s face it, we all go a little bit crazy when it comes to planning the perfect wedding but, for the most part, the aim is for the bride to survive.

Of course, in her defense, Mandy (Kristin Booth) isn’t really a wedding planner.  Though she pretends to be one when she approaches Ashley (Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe), that’s just because Mandy is looking for an excuse to barge into Ashley’s life.  Ashley is engaged to Brad (Steve Richard Harris) and Brad used to be engaged to Mandy.  Needless to say, things did not end well between Brad and Mandy.  Now, Mandy is not only planning the perfect wedding but she’s also looking for revenge!

Will Mandy get her revenge and, more importantly, will Ashley get her perfect wedding?  That’s the question at the heart of The Wrong Wedding Planner.  To be honest, there’s been a lot of Lifetime films like this one and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them because they all deal with some universal truths.  Everyone wants a big and expensive wedding and everyone wants to live in a big and expensive house.  Seriously, Brad’s house is huge and wonderful and I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen it in a few other “Wrong” films as well.  Of course, as soon as Mandy gets into the house, the first thing she does is plant a bunch of hidden cameras so that she can spy on Brad and Ashley.  I probably would have done the same thing but not because I wanted to watch Brad and Ashley make love in the bedroom.  Instead, I would have just wanted to take in the fabulous job that Brad and Ashley did decorating the house.  I mean, seriously, they should be proud.

Mandy’s a bit crazy and Kristin Booth does a good job playing her.  The thing I like about Mandy was that she was totally unapologetic about trying to ruin everyone’s lives.  She didn’t waste any time trying to justify her behavior.  Instead, she just showed up like a wrecking ball and started destroying everything in her path.  She was a force of nature, as any wedding planner should be.

So, yes, Mandy may have been the wrong wedding planer but, in the end, I think she helped to bring Ashley and Brad closer together and she taught them an important lesson about why honesty is important in a relationship.  That’s not a bad accomplishment when you’re not even really a wedding planner.  When I get married, I only hope that my wedding planner is as dedicated to Mandy.  Hopefully, of course, she’ll also be a little bit less crazy than Mandy but then again, sometimes a little insanity is what you need to make your special day perfect.

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


“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!

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


Kirsten (Anna Marie Dobbins) is a professional house sitter who is looking for work.

Dan (Jason-Shane Scott) owns a house.

What could go wrong!?

Well, it turns out that quite a lot can go wrong.  Kirsten may be a house sitter and she may have a few good references and she even shows up with a contract for Dan to sign, which seems very professional, but that doesn’t mean that Kirsten is the right house sitter.  In fact, it turns out that she’s the wrong house sitter and that contract basically gives her the right to stay in the house for as long as she wants.  Dan’s a writer and really, he should have known better than to sign a contract without actually reading it but …. well, he was in a hurry that morning.

So anyway, Kirsten is now living in Dan’s house and telling everyone that she is Dan’s girlfriend, despite the fact that Dan has a girlfriend named Mary (Ciarra Carter).  (Dan also has an editor named Debbie, who is played by Vivica A. Fox.  It’s not a Lifetime “wrong” movie without Vivica A. Fox in a supporting role.)  Dan can either give up the house or he can stay in the house and hope that he finds a way to get Kirsten out of his life.

Really, Dan should have known better than to have hired Kirsten in the first place.  When they first met, it was in a bookstore and Kirsten was talking about how much she loved Atlas Shrugged.  Dan suggested that she check out The Fountainhead.  I’m a libertarian and even I know that its time to run whenever someone says that Atlas Shrugged is their favorite book.  Personally, I would have suggested that both he and Kirsten read Anthem, which gives you all the Ayn Rand you could want but which doesn’t require you to spend half a year reading it.

Regardless, Dan did hire Kirsten and now he’s stuck with her.  And Kirsten really, really wants to make things work with Dan.  In fact, she’s so determined to make things work that she’s willing to kill.  It’s a Lifetime movie, folks.  People are always willing to kill.

Anyway, our regular readers know that I like the “wrong” films, largely because they always seem to feature the nicest houses that one could hope to find in Canada.  Dan’s house is really nice and you can understand why he wouldn’t want to give it up.  The pool alone is worth a few murders.  I mean, I would have totally been up to house sit that particular home and I wouldn’t have been as dangerous about it either.  (Seriously, house sitting is a lot of fun!  You get to sleep in a stranger’s bed without having to worry about seeing them in the morning.)  Jason-Shane Scott has appeared in a few of these films and he brings his well-meaning charm to the role of Dan.  Anna Marie Dobbins is appropriately crazed as the house sitter and Vivica A. Fox, as always, does good work as the no-nonsense authority figure.

Watch it the next time you’re tempted to let a stranger live in your house for a week.

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


“You messed with the wrong cheerleader coach!”

Okay, so no one actually says that in this film, which is a bit of a shame.  Still, I absolutely loved The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, a film about what happens when the new assistant cheerleading coach at the local high school becomes obsessed with the father of one of her cheerleaders.  Let’s just say that things don’t go well but everyone still remains very enthusiastic and full of pep and vigor.

In this case, the wrong cheerleader coach is Devan (Johanna Liauw), who offers private lessons to Hanna (Madi Burton).  It’s not because Devan cares about whether or not Hanna makes the squad.  Instead, it’s because Devan is obsessed with Hanna’s father, a widower and construction worker named Jon (Corin Nemec).  When Devan discovers that John is actually dating a woman who wears glasses, Devan goes out and buys some glasses for herself.  I have to applaud Devan for taking that extra step.  My eyesight is terrible and getting worse by the day.  I usually wear contacts but I may start wearing my glasses just because Devan and Jon’s girlfriend, Melissa (Bailey Kai), make them look so cool.

Anyway, Devan is obsessed with Jon but when Jon basically says, “I don’t like you and stay the Hell away from my daughter,” Devan goes all crazy.  It’s unfortunate because Devan really does appear to be a good coach but the whole psycho thing will probably keep her from moving forward in her profession.  I mean, Hanna does become a much better cheerleader as a result of working with Devan.

This is one of Lifetime’s “Wrong” movies.  All of these films are directed by David DeCoteau and they all feature Vivica A. Fox in a supporting role.  This time, Fox plays the head cheerleading coach, the one who gives Devan a stern talking to when Devan starts to lose her mind.  Also appearing in the film is Tara Reid, who has a cameo as a former co-worker of Devan’s.  It’s a bit of Sharknado reunion, as both Fox and Reid appeared in that classic franchise.  (That said, Reid and Fox actually share any scenes in The Wrong Cheerleader Coach so don’t watch this film expecting to hear random jokes about flying sharks.)

Anyway, I always enjoy the “Wrong” films because they always seem to feature a big house and a lot of melodrama.  That’s certainly the case with The Wrong Cheerleader Coach.  In fact, one could say that this film is absolutely shameless in the way that it embraces the melodrama but that’s a good thing!  There’s enough shame in the world.  The “Wrong” films are unapologetically over-the-top and kitschy and it’s impossible not to love them.

The Wrong Cheerleader Coach is fun.  It’s got Corin Nemec, who is one of the most likable actors on the planet.  And it’s got Vivica A. Fox playing yet another no-nonsense authority figure, which is a role that she plays very well.  In the role of Devan, Johanna Liauw goes crazy with class.  It’s a fun movie.

Film Review: Arkansas (dir by Clark Duke)


Oh, Arkansas.

As far as states go, Arkansas usually doesn’t get much respect.  In a country where much of the culture is dominated by city-dwelling secular liberals, Arkansas is a state the remains stubbornly rural, religious, and conservative.  If your grandparents were a state, they’d probably look a lot like Arkansas.  Arkansas is viewed as being old-fashioned and when it does make the news, it’s usually not for anything that anyone in the state particularly wants to brag about.  Democrats will always view Arkansas as being the home of Mike Huckabee.  Republicans will never forgive the state for springing the Clintons on the rest of the nation.  (Interestingly enough, Mike Huckabee and Bill Clinton both grew up in the same tiny town.)  Little Rock has gangs and government corruption.  Hot Springs has gamblers looking to hide out from the mob.  Fouke has the Boggy Creek Monster while Ft. Smith is best-known for having once been home to the hanging judge, Isaac Parker.  You get the idea.  When it comes to the way that the rest of the country views the state, it often seems as if poor Arkansas just can’t catch a break.

With all that in mind, I have to say that I really love Arkansas.  My paternal grandparents lived in Arkansas and I’ve still got relatives all over the state.  Arkansas was one of the many states where my family lived while I was growing up.  (The others were — deep breath — Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Louisiana.)  We would stay in Arkansas for months at a time, depending on how well my mom and dad were getting along at the time.  It’s an unpretentious state, one that’s full of friendly, no-nonsense people and beautiful countryside.  I have a lot of good memories of Arkansas.  It’s always in the back of my mind that, wherever I’m living, I can always just go back to Arkansas and spend the rest of my life living in a small town with my cousins.  Of course, I’d probably end up miserable over the lack of movie theaters.  Whenever I’m living in the city, I find myself yearning for the simplicity and decency of the country.  Whenever I’m in the country, I find myself missing the excitement of the city.

The Natural State (as Arkansas is officially nicknamed) is not only the setting for some of my most cherished memories.  It’s also the setting for a film called, appropriately enough, Arkansas.  The directorial debut of actor Clark Duke, Arkansas tells the story of four very different men.  Kyle Ribb (Liam Hemsworth) is quiet and rather stoic.  Swin Horn (Clark Duke) is talkative, eccentric, and perhaps a bit too cocky for his own good.  They both work at a national park, where their boss is a veteran ranger named Bright (John Malkovich).  Of course, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to notice that neither Kyle nor Ribb really seem to do much work at the park.  And, for that matter, Bright certainly does own a big and impressive house for someone who has spent the majority of his life as a ranger….

Kyle, Swin, and Bright are actually drug dealers.  They transport drugs all over the southern half of the United States.  Kyle and Swin are supervised by Bright.  Bright, meanwhile, reports to the mysterious Frog.  Kyle and Swin have never actually met Frog and there are rumors that he might not even exist.  Of course, the film has already revealed to us that Frog (played by Vince Vaughn) does exist and is a local pawnshop owner.

Kyle narrates the film, informing us that the difference between Southern organized crime and Northern organized crime is that, in the South, it’s not all that organized.  As Kyle explains it, the infamous Dixie Mafia is not so much an organization as it’s just a collection of undisciplined lowlifes who have no real integrity or loyalty to anyone else.  When you become a drug dealer in the South, you’re a drug dealer for life.  There’s no going back if you change your mind.  You start out at the bottom of the ladder and, whenever someone above you if either murdered or imprisoned, you get your chance to move up.  No one is ever sure who is working for who or who can be trusted.  Every order from the boss is examined and re-examined as the two dealers try to figure out whether or not they’ve won the trust of the mysterious Frog.

Unfortunately for Kyle and Swin, a misunderstanding leads to violence and several deaths.  With no way to directly communicate with Frog to let him know what exactly happened, Kyle and Swin know that their lives could be in danger.  The film follows Kyle and Swin as they prepare for their ultimate meeting with Frog while, at the same time, detailing in flashback how Frog himself eventually came to his position of power.  Throughout the entire film, we watch as history repeats itself.  As Kyle said, once you’re a drug dealer, you’re a drug dealer for life.

Arkansas is a surprisingly low-key film.  Kyle, Swin, Bright, and Frog all manage to be both very laid back and very aggressive at the same time.  (Anyone who has spent anytime with a large group of rednecks will understand what I’m talking about.)  As a director, Clark Duke is as interested in capturing the rhythms of every day life in Arkansas as he is in orchestrating the inevitable violence that results from all of the film’s betrayals and mistakes and some of the best scenes in the film just feature Kyle and Swin talking about nothing in particular while driving down the interstate.  The film’s mix of cheerful goofiness and existential horror will be familiar to anyone who has ever gotten lost on the way to Hot Springs.

Liam Hemsworth and Clark Duke are sympathetic in the lead roles, though Hemsworth’s Southern accent does slip a few times.  Swin meets a woman (Eden Brolin) in a grocery store and their subsequent romance manages to be both creepy and touching at the same time.  John Malkovich is, as usual, wonderfully eccentric.  That said, the film is pretty much dominated by Vince Vaughn, who plays Frog as being both dangerously ruthless and also as someone who understands that his eventual downfall is inevitable.  Frog came to power by betraying his boss and, as played by Vaughn, Frog is very much aware that he’s destined to eventually be betrayed as well.  Frog has made peace with both his place in the world and the reality of his situation and, in many ways, that makes him an even more dangerous character than he would be otherwise.  He has nothing to lose and he knows it.

Obviously, I liked Arkansas, both the state and the movie.  It’s an well-done work of Southern pulp.

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.

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


If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my long history of watching Lifetime films, it’s that having a real job just isn’t worth the trouble.

Just consider what Melanie (Jessica Morris) goes through in The Wrong Mommy.  She’s got a real job.  She also has a handsome husband (Jason-Shane Scott), an adorable daughter (Jillian Spitz), and a mother (Dee Wallace) who enjoys going on exotic cruises.  Melanie also has a really nice and really big house, the type of house that would probably be the “slightly more than you’re willing to pay” house on an episode of House Hunters.  But can she enjoy it?  No, of course not!  It’s all because she’s got a real job.  She can’t pick up her daughter after school.  She can’t go out at night.  She can’t do anything because she’s got a real job.

However, during the first few minutes of The Wrong Mommy, Melanie gets some good news!  She’s been promoted!  She’s now a senior executive or whatever it is that you get promoted to when you’ve got a real job.  Along with having real responsibilities, Melanie is also about to get a real assistant!

Here’s another thing that I’ve learned from my long history of watching Lifetime films, as well as from my own past experience in the administrative professional field.  Be very careful about hiring an assistant.  Especially if she only has one obscure reference on her resume.  Even if she’s willing to babysit your daughter for you, be careful.  Don’t look the other way when she flirts with your husband.  And, for the love of everything holy in this world, don’t tell her the one secret that could lead to you losing a big account!

Unfortunately, Melanie doesn’t exercise caution about any of that and, as a result, she ends up hiring Phoebe (Ashlynn Yennie).  Even before Phoebe shows up for her interview, we’ve already seen her following Melanie around town and spying on her.  In fact, even before the opening credits conclude, Phoebe is breaking into Melanie’s house and planting spy cameras.  We know better than to trust Phoebe and soon, Melanie discovers that she made a mistake hiring her.  However, it may be too late to do anything about it….

Now, to the film’s credit, Phoebe isn’t just some random psycho bitch trying to ruin someone else’s life.  It turns out that she has a backstory, one that actually does involve Melanie.  I won’t spoil anything by revealing it but it’s a pretty good backstory.  Ashley Yennie appears to be having a lot of fun in the role of Phoebe.  If you’re going to be in a Lifetime movie, you definitely want to play the villain.  They usually get all the good lines and get to wear all the pretty clothes.

Like most of Lifetime’s “Wrong” films, this one was directed by David DeCoteau, who know exactly the right tone to take for a film like this.  He plays up the melodrama while never allowing the film to take itself too seriously.  (Just check out the scene where Dee Wallace shouts out the film’s title.)  As with all the “Wrong” films, Vivica A. Fox shows up as a no-nonsense authority figure.  (This time, she plays Melanie’s boss.)  The great Eric Roberts also shows up for a few minutes, playing a sleazy client.  Roberts doesn’t have much screen time but, as usual, he makes memorable use of what he gets.

The Wrong Mommy is an enjoyably silly film.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you.

Lifetime Film Review: The Wrong Boy Next Door (dir by David DeCoteau)


“Don’t trust your neighbor,” proclaims the tagline for The Wrong Boy Next Door and that’s certainly true when it comes to Lifetime films.

Seriously, in a Lifetime movie, your neighbor is either going to be a seemingly nice woman who is going to end up trying to steal your baby or else a really hot guy who never wears a shirt and who is secretly plotting to kill you and your friends.  In the case of The Wrong Boy Next Door, we get the hot psycho who is always wandering outside without a shirt on.  John (Travis Burns) may be intriguing but he’s also dangerous.  It might be fun to watch him while he’s out in his garage but if he starts watching you back …. look out!

The Wrong Boy Next Door really does capture an essential truth.  Bad boys are sexy and the more dangerous the better.  While watching the film, it was easy for me to yell that Katie (played by Calli Taylor) was making a huge mistake by trusting John but, honestly, I probably would have made the same mistake back when I was in high school.  First off, there’s the fantasy of being the one girl who can reform a bad boy.  Secondly, there’s the fact that, when you’re a teenager, you do stupid things because you think you’re smarter than you actually are.  I mean, really, that’s the whole appeal of being young.  It’s the only time in your life that you can get away with being totally dumb and irresponsible.  That’s why there are people in their 30s who are already feeling nostalgic for high school.

Having watched the film, I can say that Katie is one of the greatest Lifetime heroines ever.  From the minute the movie starts, she’s getting in trouble.  First, she gets caught vaping at school and this leads to her being suspended for a few days.  It’s during that time that she first spots John walking around outside.  She invites him inside and, two minutes later, they’re kissing.  Then, when Katie returns to school, one of her teachers spots her checking her phone in class.  When the teacher demands the phone, Katie throws it at her and literally knocks the teacher to the ground!  (The school’s principal later says that the teacher looks like she got hit in the face by a baseball.)  Go Katie!

So now, Katie’s under house arrest!  That means that she has to wear one of those ankle bracelets that beeps if you leave your front yard.  The detective in charge of Katie’s house arrest is played by none other than Vivica A. Fox so you know that if Katie breaks the rules, she’s going to be in a lot of trouble.  Unfortunately, being stuck in her house is kind of a problem because Katie suspects that John might be as good a guy as he’s pretending to be.  But how can she investigate without going outside!?

The Wrong Boy Next Door was a hell of a lot of fun, largely due to Calli Taylor’s energetic and sympathetic performance as Katie and Travis Burns’s menacing turn as John.  As is typical of Lifetime’s “Wrong” films, director David DeCoteau kept the action moving at a brisk pace and Vivica A. Fox brought her usual flair to yet another no-nonsense authority figure.  All in all, The Wrong Boy Next Door is one for which to keep an eye out.

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


“I hear that Maddie is one bad mother….”

“Shut your mouth!”

“But I’m talking about Maddie.”

“Then we can dig it!”

Actually, Maddie (Cindy Busby) is not a mother, though she would like to be.  She not even a stepmother, despite what the title says.  Instead, she’s just dating the recently widowed Michael (Corin Nemec).  If she does end up marrying Michael, Maddie will become a stepmother — perhaps even a WRONG stepmother — to his two daughters, Lilly (Calli Taylor) and Nicole (McKinley Blehm).

It doesn’t take Lilly long to realize that there’s something off about Maddie.  For one thing, she catches Maddie trying to check her social media.  Then she overhears Maddie claiming to be her mother.  And finally, Maddie changes up Lilly’s college admission essay.  See, Lilly wrote about how much her late mother influenced her.  Maddie, however, changes it into an essay about how much Lilly loves her future stepmother.

Yes, Maddie has some issues.  As we discover at the start of the film, she has a history of stalking people.  About halfway through the film, she murders two people.  Whenever you’re watching a film on Lifetime, you know someone’s going to get murdered at exactly halfway through the film.  You can set the time by it.

As with all of Lifetime’s “Wrong” films, Vivica A. Fox has a small role.  In this one, she plays Ms. Price, the high school guidance counselor who is extremely unimpressed by Lilly’s college admissions essay.  When Ms. Price confronts Lilly about how unimpressive her essay was, Fox delivers the lines with such subtle fury and annoyance that it brought back a lot of high school memories for me.  As played by Fox, Ms. Price is the type of high school counselor who scares you to death but who also changes your life for the better.  If Ms. Price had been my counselor, I definitely wouldn’t have spent so much time skipping class and shoplifting makeup at Target.

Anyway, the main complaint that you always hear about Lifetime films is that they’re all exactly the same but that’s actually their appeal.  They’re fun to watch, precisely because 1) they’re predictable and 2) the viewer is always going to be smarter than the people in the movie.  I mean, we can take one look at Maddie and say, “Okay, don’t let her in the house.”  However, Michael’s not that smart and, if he was, we really wouldn’t have a movie.  Sometimes, you just have to stop crying about plausibility and enjoy what you’re watching.

The Wrong Stepmother gets a big boost from the casting of the always likable Corin Nemec as Michael.  I mean, it’s pretty much impossible not to root for a character played by Corin Nemec, even if that character is way too trusting of someone who he met on a dating app.  Meanwhile, Cindy Busby is properly psychotic as Maddie and, of course, you’ve got Vivica A. Fox changing lives as Ms. Price.

The Wrong Stepmother is an entertaining Lifetime film.  Watch it with your snarkiest friends.