The Wrong Stepmother (2019 Lifetime)

The Wrong Stepmother  (2019 Lifetime)

Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Cindy Busby, Corin Nemec

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Michael, who lost his wife a few years back, has been use to being a single dad to his two daughters until his new girlfriend Maddie comes along. Initially, Lily loves that Maddie is always there to lend a helpful hadn’t but as Lily gets to know her, she soon becomes suspicious of her. Does Maddie really care for them or is she willing to do whatever it takes to have a family of her own?


The movie starts off with a ding dong ditcher. A woman dressed in a hoodie stands outside as a man yells and calls her crazy. He wants her to stay out of his life. “Your loss!” the woman cries as the title card pops up on the screen.

Michael is recently widowed and left to raise his two daughters on his own. Lucky for Michael, he meets Maddie on a dating app and invites her over for dinner. The teenage daughter, Lily, is skeptical. The younger daughter, Nicole, is excited. They are both being followed by Maddie, who takes pictures of them on their way to school.  

At work, Michael gets asked on a date by his co-worker (Cynthia), and he declines. She seems nice, not sure what his deal is and why he won’t date her. I guess he picked… THE WRONG STEPMOM!

Ms. Vivica A Fox shows up is the guidance counselor of the school? She checks in with Lily and helps her with her college applications. Lily and Patrick (her friend, who I now hate because he has my name.) talk about picking a college. Lily wants to go to the college her mom when to. 

Later that night, Maddie shows up, and Nicole (the younger daughter) is thrilled to have a friend. The dinner goes, even when Maddie excuses herself from the table and snoops around the upstairs and installs nanny cams (yes, multiple.) around the house. Lily has come around to Maddie, despite finding her snooping through her phone. (Lilly calls Patrick to recap the dinner. He is just her friend tho!)

Cynthia and Michael get along really well. On their way from a meeting, Michael tells her that they make a great team. He doesn’t tell her about him dating Maddie. She clearly likes him. When Cynthia stops by to drop off some papers while Maddie and Michael are drinking wine, Maddie aggressively introduces herself. Cynthia is hurt that Michael wouldn’t have told her. Lily stops Cynthia before she goes and says that she is concerned about Maddie and has a bad feeling. Cynthia promises to look into it. (She later finds out that Maddie stalked another family and her real name is Claire.) 

Maddie spends the middle half of this movie peaking over door frames and reviewing nanny cam footage. She is pretty stalkery.

When Lily catches Maddie looking at her social media on her laptop, she freaks out. Maddie insists that she was just trying to order a pizza. Michael sides with Maddie on this one and he and Lily have an argument. He just wants Lily to try to like Maddie because he might want to propose to her? Lily wants her dad to get a grip on reality.

Maddie tells Michael that she wants to be the perfect stepmother, but we know she is the wrong stepmother… it is in the title. Why is she the wrong stepmother? Well, for starters, she hides in the back seat of Cynthia’s car. I was expecting Cynthia to get strangled. Instead, Cynthia and Maddie have a really long talk in her car, AND THEN she is strangled to death and shoved into the trunk. Then, Maddie kills the source (A young man named Tyler.) that told Cynthia the dirt on Maddie.

Ms. Vivica A Fox shows up again to remind Lily to work on her essay?!?! (WTF!)

Without Cynthia to help her, Lily resorts to Patrick. (Who is shirtless for some reason.) Patrick logs into Lily’s dad’s dating profile. They find Maddie’s info and find her address. She then goes through Cynthia’s purse and finds a file. She asks Patrick to find out who the file belongs to (Tyler), but we never find out what is exactly in the file. 

Ms. Vivica A. Fox stops Lily in school about her essay. She tells Lily that she got the email with the essay about how much she loves her stepmom. Ms. Vivica A. Fox tells Lily she is disappointed in her.

The disappointment of a living legend is enough to get Lily to confront Maddie in front of Michael. Lily accuses Maddie of rewriting AND sending her a college essay for her. Maddie admits to making edits, and for some reason, Michel sympathizes with Maddie AGAIN? 

Emboldened, Maddie starts to boss around Nicole and takes away her phone. She also tells Nicole that “Life’s not fair/” (Which was my least favorite response when I was a kid.) 

Lily finally goes to Maddie’s house for about 5 mins and then finds photos of her family and a therapist card on a desk. Lily goes to the office of the therapist, who lets her come in and talk without an appointment. The therapist is trying to diagnose Lily with anxiety? Lily keeps trying to clarify that she doesn’t need therapy, she is trying to see if a patient is dangerous. When the therapist hears Maddie’s name, she is like… oh her? She is VERY dangerous. (The therapist should know, she gets murdered in the next scene.) 

Patrick is a fantastic password guesser and hacks into Cynthia’s email. He finds out what she knew about Tyler and his family. Patrick calls Lily and tells her to be careful.

Maddie goes to school and tries to lie and say she is Nicole’s mom. Ms. Vivica A. Fox calls her a liar and says the title of the movie!!! Maddie grabs Nicole, takes her home, and sits on the couch with her… with a knife.

Michael finds out that Maddie was Claire and killed her husband. Then before that, she was Victoria and kidnapped a family and held them hostage. Maddie pulls the knife on Michael, and Nicole runs away and calls 911. (Good job.) While waiting for the cops to arrive, Maddie cries about how she just wanted a family and doesn’t want to be a wicked stepmother. Then Maddie stabs him in the stomach. Screams “Your loss” and runs away from the police. HAHA. (Nice callback, Lifetime.)

The family makes breakfast and act like nothing happened. Flash to Maddie in the park posing a Josie and inserting herself into another widowed man’s life.   

Side Note

Ms. Vivica A Fox has small roles in ALL the “wrong movies.”

Minority Report: Cynthia & Ms. Vivica A Fox

The teens in this movie speak like they are from a 1940’s romantic comedy. Teens do not say “Likewise” or “A pleasure” when talking to adults. Hell, adults don’t even say that to adults.

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Overall rating

🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪 (5 Knives, added an extra for Ms. Vivica A Fox and Cindy Busby stepping outside of her Hallmark comfort zone.)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime


  1. I was yelling at the screen when Ms. Fox completely dismissed Lily trying to tell her Maddie was a psycho and turned in a different essay. And also when the dad didn’t tell Maddie to GTFO when he found out she messed with her essay! Come on people!!

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