Is the Lifetime original movie Deadly Adoption staring Will Farrell and Kirsten Wigg serious or a parody?
The simple answer is both.
There is no canned laughter and the film won’t have a comedy hashtag on Netflix. This is a serious Lifetime movie about domestic concerns. At the same time, Will Farrell and Kirtsen Wiig know they can’t just switch to the cheesey seriousness of a Lifetime movie. Audience expectation plays an important role here.
The combination works well. When Farrell and Wiig deliver some of their lines you just can’t help smiling. Farrell’s character Robert says “I know you hate me but I hate myself more.” Wiig’s character says “I almost sold all my pies and I sold all my honey.” If anyone else said the lines, there wouldn’t be a problem, but when Farrell and Wiig deliver them with all the innocence to of a Lifetime character, they cannot help but invoke all the previous comedy characters and you have no choice but to smile. And there is the difficult. You don’t laugh but you do smile. If you didn’t smile it wouldn’t be a parody and if you did laugh it wouldn’t be serious.
Some of Will Farrell’s best characters are the ones who have a simple or blinkered view of the world. Take Buddy the Elf, Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby. The apparent simplicity of the Lifetime movie structure means that his character fits the bill without actually delivering a intentional humour line.
Within the context of Farrell’s characters is an inherent parody of whatever genre is being used. Whether it is the sports movie such as Blades of Glory or a bio-pic like Anchorman. Because of the inherent patronising and cheesy nature of a Lifetime movie, just by having Farrell and Wiig a parody is created that is at once a serious.
Just look at the gun shots. Two characters get shot and neither actually acts like they have been injured in any way. One gets shot in the shoulder and manages to life, carry and swim with the injured shoulder. Another character gets shot it in gut and it running around attempting to evade the police.
At the end of the film there is the incredibly cheesy scene with the now happy family dancing around the kitchen. Before the tragedy that is a part of every Lifetime movie, Farrell’s character loved to dance around the kitchen to music. At the end of the film he does just that with predictable dancing with the family.
Still don’t believe me? Just watch this Lifetime produced trailer for the film and tell me Lifetime are just taking the whole thing seriously? I can’t tell whether the ‘Put the Gun Down’ or the ‘We Did it’ face is my favourite.