Plot: Drew Peterson (Rob Lowe) is a police officer with a wife and children, but he just isn’t the faithful type and always has his eye on a new woman. His latest infatuation is Stacy (Kaley Cuoco), who happens to be three decades younger than himself, though that doesn’t dissuade Peterson. After cheating on his current wife Kathleen (Cara Buono) for years with Stacy, Peterson finally divorces her and marries his new love, a romance that starts off well enough. But Kathleen warns the new bride that Drew will do the same to her, though Stacy dismisses her comments as bitterness. Soon however, Kathleen turns up dead under suspicious circumstances and while some believe Drew was involved, the evidence doesn’t seem to support that. Has Drew changed his ways and will his fourth marriage be the one that sticks or will Stacy soon see the same darker side of his persona that his ex warned her about?
Entertainment Value: This is of course inspired by the notorious real life Drew Peterson, one of the more colorful, inexplicable true crime figures of all time, but Untouchable winds up as a wild melodrama, rather than a grounded, procedural type experience. The narrative follows the actual events well enough and this was produced while Peterson was on trial, so it feels very in the moment, though it lacks some of the details that were released over time. The tone is serious, but things often spiral into over the top melodrama and Rob Lowe just devours scenes, in one of the more outlandish performances of his career. So this is a dialed up take on Peterson’s crimes and that is bound to put off some viewers, but for those who appreciate Lifetime’s usual thrillers, I think this holds a lot of appeal. I think Untouchable gets Peterson’s attitude and larger than life persona right, which is important and while things do delve into melodrama, the entertainment is there. I can easily see some complain that the tuned up drama is disrespectful to the real life events, but Untouchable’s more tabloid slant is just over the top, so I don’t think it is more offensive than any other adaptation of tragic real life crimes or what not. In the end, I think this is a wild, memorable Lifetime thriller that should not only appeal to Lifetime’s usual fans, but also anyone who appreciates b movies or crazed performances.
I think Peterson’s story falls right into Lifetime’s wheelhouse, with the abusive husband and true crime elements, so the narrative is a good fit for the network’s style. But the main reason to check out Untouchable is Rob Lowe, who channels a manic, wild performance here that has to be seen to be believed. There is over the top and there’s this, with Lowe dialing up Peterson’s presence and given how colorful the real Drew is, that is something. I think he gets the general arrogance and impulsive nature of Peterson right and then Lowe just turns up the volume a little, which leads to this outlandish turn in an otherwise serious, grounded picture. But that echoes the real life events, as even as the murder investigation rolled on, Peterson was all over the place, saying crazy things and acting like a lunatic. So yes, this is over the top, but so is the real life Peterson, so no complaints there. And let’s be real, Lowe is massive fun to watch here and he adds so much b movie appeal to Untouchable. The cast also includes Kaley Cuoco, Catherine Dent, and Cara Buono.
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