Back in 2015, Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig appeared in A Deadly Adoption, a tongue-in-cheek black comedy for Lifetime parodying Lifetime movies. It seemed almost to follow the same plotline of the Lifetime movies it reminded me of the saying that Stanley Kubrick said he was going to direct a porno flick back in the 1970s just to show people how to do it right.
The TV movie didn’t get a lot of reviews, but looking back, it was a genius way form of self-parody by Lifetime itself as well as a reminder to people that the TV movies on the channel aren’t meant to be taken seriously. They’re just mindless entertainment.
The Netflix series The Woman in the House Across the Street from The Girl in the Window gets it wrong first with the title that is too long that it’s not funny at all. Kristen Bell plays Anna, a painter whose in mourning following the death of her daughter who was accidentally left alone in a locked room with a sadistic killer. She drinks wine by the bottle. And she makes chicken casseroles and often carries them around. But by the third episode of this eight-episode series, it’s a gag that gets old.
Michael Lehman tries to do his best with the formula but the movie jumps between having the Did They Just Say That? delivery Airplane! did to disaster movies and the Beating a Dead Horse delivery. I don’t like jokes that take too long to get the joke out and then remind me of the joke they just said.
The plot involves Anna becoming interested in a new neighbor, Neil (Tom Riley) who moves in across the street from her. Neil is a widower with his nine-year-old daughter, Emma (Samsara Yett). But Neil has a girlfriend, Lisa (Shelley Henning) who Anna thinks she saw murdered in the window across the street.
This sets up a very long series of the female detective who doesn’t believe her. There’s the nosey neighbor trope. The friend who constantly comes by unannounced and uninvited. There’s the burly but creepy handyman who always seems to be doing something. It could’ve worked if they didn’t bother trying to remind us who they were.
Bell does her best but considering the series is about the length of three Lifetime movies, it becomes tedious and unamusing after a while. What’s really tragic is Netflix is now churning out these types of movies. Brazen was released earlier this year. And there was The Woman in the Window last year, which this series mirrors so much, I can understand why people aren’t happy with Netflix right now.
What do you think? Please comment.