Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Drew Peterson: Untouchable

I typically don't punish myself by watching made-for-TV movies, but every so often, one looks so remarkably bad that I have to give it a try.  I have lived in the greater Chicago area most of my life, so I was already familiar with the Drew Peterson case.  I wasn't planning on watching the Lifetime Original Movie, even if it had a decently respectable actor in the lead role.  No, it was the trailer that hooked me.  Specifically, one line in the trailer:

"I'm untouchable, bitch"?!?  After opening and closing a garage door as an intimidation tactic?  Most bad movies at least try to look cool in their trailers, but this one...this had to be a gem.

Drew Peterson: Untouchable opens with a scene you've probably seen dozens of times before.  Drew (Rob Lowe), fresh from sexing up his wife, Kathleen (Cara Buono), gets out of bed when one of his sons wants something; Drew doesn't see the need to be modest, though, and gives his young son quite the gander at his package.  When Kathleen protests, Drew's response is "He has a right to know why they call me Big Daddy."  Wait...what?  Who would...why should...ow, that hurt my brain.  Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Yeah, that was my reaction, too.
Anyway, Drew and Kathleen don't get along so well these days.  Maybe it has something to do with Drew mentally scarring his sons, maybe it has to do with Drew being a sexist, jealous asshole.  Whatever the reasons, Drew's eye begins to wander.  That's when Stacy (Kaley Cuoco) enters the picture.  She's young and pretty, but has a weakness for middle-aged men who look like douchebags, so you can imagine how her heart went aflutter when she saw this:
"I'm untouchable, bitch"
Pretty soon, the pair are having an affair.  Kathleen learns about it and Drew and Stacy move in together, in a house a few blocks from the Peterson household.  Not surprisingly, the longtime wife and victim of adultery is set to have a very favorable divorce settlement.  And then, she dies from an apparent suicide.  Huh.  Well, I guess that means that Rob and Stacy get to live happily ever after.
"Ding dong, the witch is dead!  Which old witch?  The one I stabbed!"
No, not really.  Drew's nasty side comes out of hiding again and Stacy soon finds herself on the wrong side of a "disappeared/presumed dead" situation.  But can anyone bring this monster to justice?  He's a police officer in his town, which essentially makes him untouchable, right bitches?

Okay, wow.  Drew Peterson: Untouchable is shockingly bad.  I mean, when you sit down to watch this, you know it's not going to be good, but geez!  Surprisingly, the acting isn't too awful.  While I still can't get over the fact that they cast a famous actor known for being handsome as Peterson, I will admit that Rob Lowe was very committed in this performance. 
It's like the movie Twins!
It's not good, mind you, but Lowe never looked sheepish, even when he had to deliver some atrocious dialogue.  I really hated his Chicago accent, though.  It felt like Lowe got his accent from watching the Superfans SNL skits.  Kaley Cuoco was halfway decent.  Again, the dialogue was pretty awful; "I'm fine, Drew just threw me into the TV, but want to help me make some more margaritas?" is about par for the course.  Still, she played the victim and made her sympathetic.  Cara Buono was also fine as the deadest wife in the movie.  The only person I had a major problem with was Catherine Dent.  It's not because she was an obnoxious neighbor who managed the implausible feat of being friends with the first wife and also befriending the young homewrecker who usurped her.  It's because her expression rarely shifted from being open-mouthed dumbstruck.
This is also how she reacts to the Weather Channel
On the bright side, she was the woman on the receiving end of the "untouchable bitch" line, so I suppose she did contribute something to the movie.

Director Mikael Salomon obviously had a difficult task in making Drew Peterson: Untouchable.  Sure, it certainly seems like Drew murdered two consecutive wives and then bathed in the public attention he received in the media shitstorm that followed.  But Peterson still hasn't been convicted of those crimes (yet).  That means that the movie can't actually show Peterson killing anyone.  With that significant hurdle to overcome, I think Salomon did a moderately decent job.  The acting didn't exactly "wow," but the story was comprehensible.  I don't know why Salomon included the bookend "look at my penis" scenes (yes, the film abruptly closes with another one), but aside from that, this was done with mild competence. 
Surprisingly, no penis in this scene
And I place emphasis on the "mild."  Drew Peterson: Untouchable has its campy moments that you might enjoy, but the pace is glacial.  I get it, Drew is creepy.  Next point.
Point taken.
Without actually seeing Drew plan or commit murder, what are we left with?  Just Rob Lowe smirking when his wives die.  I understand the situation, but it is definitely not very satisfying to watch.

But Lifetime movies are not meant to actually be good, are they?  The big question is whether Drew Peterson: Untouchable is bad enough to be good.  Not without help, it isn't.  Even if you're in the mood to laugh and with a few smart-assed friends, this is not a picture you should experience sober.  Try making a drinking game out of it; my wife suggested drinking whenever you hear the words "wife," "Drew," or maybe any time Drew pulls a douche move. 
Get ready to drink...!
The funnybad scenes are pretty remarkable in this movie, but they are sadly too few and far in-between.  As a legitimate film (even one made for TV), Drew Peterson: Untouchable is pretty darn bad.
 As a social drinking game, though, it has some potential.  I give it a Lefty Gold rating of

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