review   |   weekend

'A Deadly Adoption' is a jokeless parody

Last year, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig appeared in “The Spoils of Babylon,” written by former “Saturday Night Live” head writer Andrew Steele. That miniseries was so ridiculous in its satire of the ’70s and ’80s miniseries genre it was obviously a joke. “A Deadly Adoption” brings together the same creative team, but it is played with the straightest of faces.

Six years after an accident left her infertile, Sarah Benson and her husband Robert decide to have a second child by hiring a surrogate mother named Bridget. It soon becomes clear, however, that Bridget has a few secrets and sinister intentions for the family.

The dialogue is at first inanely expository, then over-the-top. The performances of the supporting cast are mostly too dramatic.

The lighting is really bright or really dark, depending on the mood the film wants you to feel.

There is also a kidnapping, a fistfight between two women and a lot of people getting shot. The only thing that could make this movie more of a stereotypical melodrama is if somebody said, “... or was I pushed?!”

Despite all of this, “A Deadly Adoption” does have its charms. Wiig and Ferrell as Sarah and Robert, respectively, make their most exceeding banal lines funny.

It is also worth noting that Ferrell’s character, Robert Benson, has the same name as IU-Bloomington professor Robby Benson.

Arturo Interian, vice president of original movies for A+E Networks, told Entertainment Weekly “A Deadly Adoption” is “not the ‘Scary Movie’ parody of a Lifetime movie.” He is right, because “A Deadly Adoption” is something even better — it’s a comedy writer’s idea of what a Lifetime movie is, played straight.

I couldn’t stop thinking of “Spy” while I was watching this movie. “It’s not anywhere in the ballpark of being a spoof,” Melissa McCarthy said of the film, and it is basically a spy film with humor built into it.

“A Deadly Adoption,” on the other hand, is a serious Lifetime movie written by a writer known for spoofs and starring two actors best known for their comedic work. The joke, if there is one, is on us.

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