My Evil Stepdad (2019 Lifetime)
Cast: Chris Johnson, Jatone Smith, Jennifer Lafleur
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Ashley is thrilled when her widowed mother Tracy falls for and quickly marries Jared, a charming and successful entrepreneur. That is until Jared begins to push Ashley out of their new life. When Jared’s dangerous motives come to light, Ashley must find a way to take him down before it’s too late.
A mother, Tracy, and daughter, Ashley, are together at a funeral. They cry, and Ashley takes pictures like her dad taught her to. Ashley wonders if her mother will be okay, and it seems like she might not. Tracy sits around the house drinking water with lemon and looks out the window. Ashley makes her chili dinner and develops photos in the darkroom they have in the back of their house???
Ashley gets into the NYU photo department and celebrates with her hot guy friend, Marcus. Instead of partying or going to dinner, they make Tracy a dating profile so she won’t be lonely when Ashley goes off to college. Of course, a creepy guy finds the profile!
Since her mom doesn’t trust online dating or apps, Ashley decides against the dating profile. Tracy is looking for more of a Sleepless in Seattle type of romance, where they meet in a coffee shop. (or on top of the Space Needle.) Ashley runs into the creepy guy, who is less creepy in daylight, in a coffee shop. (He saw the name on a mug in the dating profile) He sells himself as the perfect guy who is also widowed. Ashley decides to set him up with her mom, by orchestrating a meet-cute.
The meeting isn’t that cute… they could have done better. Tracy is working in a garden teaching kids, and Jared (creepy guy) tells her how to teach better. Tracy shows him around the garden and seems charmed. He invites her to tea. They need to watch a Hallmark movie to see how this is done.
After a jog, Tracy and Jared kiss. It doesn’t look like that good of one. They are officially dating now! Tracy tells Ashley and her gay friend or co-worker, who wears a Bluetooth earpiece. His name is Phil, who cares!!!! (They side characters in this movie are super random.)
Tracy invites Jared over for breakfast, where he pretends to meet Ashley for the first time. They do a good job faking it, and Tracy is smitten. Jared is working on an investment app and promise to let Tracy try it out; he also makes windchimes, apparently. Phil shows up and interrupts breakfast, and Jared is clearly not into it. (Or maybe he is homophobic?!) Jared gives Tracy his blessing. As long as Tracy likes him, he likes him. With a successful introduction, Ashley wants to tell Tracy, and Jared promises to tell her this week.
Instead of telling Tracy, Jared takes her to get married? They eloped and didn’t tell Ashley. When they return, Tracy and Jared tell Ashley that she will need to get a student loan to cover her college herself. They also want to put Jared’s home office in her dad’s darkroom. Jared also tries to convince Tracy to keep a closer watch on Ashley and to sell the remainder of her dead husband’s photos.
Ashley is enraged when she learns what Jared did to her dad’s things. Jared gets her a crappy digital camera to make it up to her. When Ashley confronts her mom, Tracy bushes it off and tells Ashley that she is using the app and is excited for Jared’s new business/office space. Ashley asks Phil to look into, she has a bad feeling. (Which is confirmed later, when her card gets declined.)
Jared admits to putting a limit on Ashley and Tracy’s cards. He tells her that he controls her now, and he is her sugar daddy. Marcus is on the phone and hears the whole thing. He thinks that Jared is a psycho and promises to help her figure it out. Marcus comes over and flicks Jared off. (While funny, it won’t fix anything.) Things actually get worse, a robber breaks into their house and steals some of Jared’s things.
Jared installs some surveillance camera’s outside of the studio to protect his things. While getting some money out of his wallet, Ashley takes a picture of Jared’s ID. She then tells her mom that Jared staged the robbery for insurance money and threatened her. Tracy agrees to talk to Jared but blames Ashley for creating the problem. Tracy then takes some pills for her headache. Later, Tracy and Jared talk, and he spins everything to make himself look guilt-free and create doubt about Ashley. (using security footage of Ashley “stealing money from his wallet.) Tracy bites it hook, line, and sinker. She turns her back on her daughter for a man?!?!
While getting Tracy to sign some financial documents, Jared sees Phil texting Tracy’s phone. Phil wants to meet at the office to tell Tracy that he has found this out about Jared. Jared reads the messages and pretends to be Tracy. He goes to the office and confronts Phil. Jared tries to explain away the evidence that Phil found, and it seems to work? Well, until Jared pushes Phil down the stairs and kills him.
Phil gets home and overhears Ashley talking on the phone with Marcus plotting against him. He has to get rid of her.
The next day, the police show up after getting a call about someone selling drugs out of the house. The cops find Adderall in Ashley’s room and take her away in handcuffs. Tracy is caught in the middle, but AGAIN sides with Jared. Tracy doesn’t believe that Jared planted the drugs, she asks Ashley to live with Marcus after she posts bail.
Defeated, Ashley cries to Marcus. She is sure that he planted the drugs and murdered Phil, but she can’t prove any of it. Marcus promises to help her. Meanwhile, Tracy is getting sicker and sicker while Jared is seducing her realtor friend, so he can sell her house when she dies from him poisoning her.
Marcus and Ashley go to a detective with a huge arm tattoo. The detective finds out that Jared poisoned his ex-wife and his mother for life insurance. The detective also finds out that he trolls dating sites to find victims. Marcus wants to go to the police, but Ashley has another idea.
Ashley goes to Jared and promises to back down. She just wants her mom to be happy, and if that is Jared, then so be it. She tells him that she wants to go to college. To prove it to Jared, she smashes her dad’s old camera. He welcomes her back to the family, and they call each other Father and Daughter… it is weird!
Marcus spots the realtor taking pictures of the house and sends a video to Ashley. To earn her mom’s trust, but also shade Jared. Ashley lets her look through her phone to see the incriminating evidence. Ashley also plays up the family aspect and calls Jared, father, in front of Tracy. She even suggests selling the house. Tracy is horrified and starting to see things clearly.
Tracy asks the realtor, Jessica, what is going on. Jessica tells Tracy that a deal has already been made on the house, and maybe she should talk with her husband…
That is exactly what Tracy does. She talks to Jared in his man cave while he drinks champagne and asks her for a divorce. Jared calls Ashley a bitch and tells Tracy that he is having an affair with Jessica. Jared owns everything, framed Ashley, and has been manipulating everyone. Ashley is like, “I’ve been telling you this. Mom?!?!” Tracy kicks him out and tells him she will annul the marriage. That is if she survives the night.
Tracy and Ashley realize that she has been poisoned this whole time. When they go to leave, Jared tries to stop them. Marcus comes to the rescue with some pepper spray but is knocked out by Jared. Jared holds them at gunpoint and forces them to poison themselves in the studio. While distracted, Tracy grabs Jared’s taser and pushes him to the ground, hitting his head on the speaker. He is killed instantly.
Finally, off to college, Ashley and Tracy joke about no more online dating or setups. Haha! LOL! But, not really. Tracy’s last line of the movie? “Maybe some alone time won’t be so bad!”
Minority Report: None!!!
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime