Anyone who has followed or read my blog would know that Lifetime movies are rarely reviewed. In fact, the last time I wrote about a film from Lifetime was Killer Prom back in May. This is because I don’t always find the time to include this network’s projects into my blogging schedule. But since I just watched The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, I decided to review this film before the 1st Annual Classic Movie Blogathon and Halloween. It seems like Lifetime has created a series where an unstable woman tries to bring chaos into the lives of those around her, with her occupation included in the film’s title. One of these films is The Wrong Wedding Planner, which I was not a fan of. Since cheerleading, a sport that I like, would play a role in the story of The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, I chose to watch this movie with an open mind. Cheer me on as I share my thoughts on one of Lifetime’s most recent titles!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Johanna Liauw is an actress I’m not familiar with. Despite this, I thought she stole the show in The Wrong Cheerleader Coach! Portraying the assistant coach, Devan, Johanna’s emotions were very fluid. A scene where Devan is eating dinner at Jon and Hanna’s house shows a perfect example of this. While eating her meal, Devan is happily enjoying her food and comfortable with spending time in their home. When Jon forces her to leave, Devan’s demeanor quickly changes, anger and discontent bursting forth. Corin Nemec’s performance is another one I liked seeing! Certain behaviors his character, Jon, adopted highlight how he experienced certain situations. One of these behaviors is when he takes his glasses off and puts them back on. This action effectively shows the audience how the stress of moving cross-country, raising a daughter on his own, and being the bread-winner of the family is visualized through a nervous habit. Even though she was in the film for a short amount of time, I enjoyed Mea Wilkerson’s portrayal of Hanna’s new friend, Claire! Mea’s on-screen personality is what made her character likeable. It also helped that Claire was the “voice of reason”, displaying skepticism and concern when interacting with the other characters. These factors made me feel that Claire truly had Hanna’s best interests in mind throughout their friendship!
The on-screen chemistry: While Jon is at work at a construction site, he meets a fellow architect named Melissa, who is portrayed by Bailey Kai. Their similarities in occupation and other areas in life bring them together. While I liked Corin’s individual performance, I liked Bailey’s performance as well. I also feel they both had good on-screen chemistry! Corin and Bailey’s personalities paired nicely with one another, giving the audience the impression their characters truly enjoyed each other’s company. This on-screen relationship also contained a brightness that served happier moments within the plot’s darkness. Seeing Jon and Melissa’s relationship unfold gave the audience a break from the story’s suspenseful nature.
The music: In most Lifetime movies, I find the music to be unmemorable or average. This is not the case for The Wrong Cheerleader Coach! During cheerleading practices, pop-techno music can be heard in the background. These musical selections were not only good to listen to, but I honestly wouldn’t change the channel if they played on the radio! When Melissa and Jon are on a dinner date, soft piano served as the scene’s official tune. It set the tone for that moment and fit within the scene’s context. Suspenseful scenes were also given music, as dramatic tunes were heard anytime a scarier situation took place. It certainly added intensity to those moments.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Very little cheerleading: With a film called The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, you’d think there would be a significant amount of cheerleading shown in the movie. But, in reality, this title actually featured very little cheerleading. Sure, a few stunts and practices can be seen. However, the sport itself felt more like an afterthought than a prominent part of the story. This film could have featured almost any athletic extracurricular activity and it wouldn’t make much of a difference.
A somewhat misleading title: Because of the film’s title and because Vivica A. Fox is the only cast member shown on the movie’s poster, it gives the audience the idea that Vivica’s character is the one the title is referring to. When the audience sees the film, they discover the title is actually referring to Devan, the assistant coach. By definition, Devan’s role is to assist Coach Burke, who is the head coach of the cheerleading team. This led to the result of showing Devan doing very little coaching. These factors also cause the film’s title to seem somewhat misleading.
Vivica A. Fox’s limited presence: In my One Christmas review, I talk about how Katharine Hepburn appears in the movie for a short amount of time despite being the top billed actor of the project. It felt like this decision did a disservice to Katharine’s talents, as well as the overall movie. The same thing happens with The Wrong Cheerleader Coach. This time, Vivica A. Fox is the top billed actor of the film. However, the actress who portrays Devan, Johanna Liauw, receives more screen and story time than Vivica does. Vivica did a good job with the acting material she was given. But if it was always The Wrong Cheerleader Coach’s creative team’s plan to cast Vivica as their top billed actor, they should have given her more material to work with.
My overall impression:
The Wrong Cheerleader Coach and Killer Prom share one thing in common: both films are given an interesting concept. However, because Lifetime creates so many movies in a given year, the network creatively sells themselves short. This causes these interesting concepts to not reach their full potential. The Wrong Cheerleader Coach could have incorporated a glimpse into the pressures of being “perfect” and/or a student athletic representative of a school. Instead, the story focused on Devan’s growing attraction for Jon. This type of narrative is very typical for Lifetime, even finding a place in Killer Prom. As I’ve said about Hallmark, I’d like to see Lifetime step out of their comfort zone and use different story-telling techniques for future movies. One example would be including thought-provoking ideas that encourage viewers to think about the film long after they’ve seen it. This would help these projects stand out for a longer period of time.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Do you watch Lifetime movies? Is there one that has been your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!