The long-awaited Lifetime movie based on the life of murder suspect and former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson is set to premiere Saturday at 7 p.m. CST.
Though the film, starring Rob Lowe, has not yet hit the airwaves, a number critics have already weighed in on its merits. Curt Wagner, writing for RedEye Chicago, gave the film just 1 star and urged viewers not to watch if they wanted "to learn anything new about the Peterson case, or to be sucked into an inspired cinematic tale of true crime." Instead, Wagner says: "Watch it to laugh, and you'll have a lot of fun."
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Lori Rackl called the movie "not so bad" and said Peterson should "better hope his prospective jurors don't watch Lifetime," as she contends the film makes a strong argument for the man's guilt.
That assessment probably has a lot to do with why Peterson's representatives issued a "cease and desist" letter with the hope of stopping the production earlier this year. As recently as December, his team was reportedly researching legal options to delay the film's premiere, but they were evidently not successful in their efforts.
Joel Brodsky, Peterson's lawyer, has watched the movie and told WBEZ he still disapproves of the network showing it before his client's long-delayed trial. Peterson has been in prison since May 2009 , when he was charged with the death of his third wife Kathleen Savio.
"Apparently Lifetime thinks the right to a fair trial is less important than their profit motive," Brodsky told WBEZ.
Brodsky noted to the Chicago Tribune this week that his client "finds the whole thing humorous."
The family of Stacy Peterson, Drew's fourth wife, who was last seen in 2007, told ABC Chicago they plan to watch the movie, which they hope will aid with the investigation into their loved one's disappearance. Illinois State Police have previously said Stacy is "missing and presumed dead," a statement that Peterson believes he deserves an apology for.
Savio's sister Sue Doman, meanwhile, told the Tribune she was angered by all the attention Peterson has received because of the charges he faces and that she has no interest in watching the film.
Weighing in on the film in an interview with Time Out Chicago, Joe Hosey, the author of "Fatal Vows," the book on which the Lifetime movie is largely based, watched the movie and took part in a little fact-checking. Hosey is currently the editor of Shorewood Patch.
In Chicago, Chicagoist, along with nightlife site Do312 will be hosting a free public screening of the film at Liar's Club, 1665 W. Fullerton Ave. At the event, beginning at 6:30 p.m., donations will be accepted for Metropolitan Family Services, an organization that, for over 150 years, has provided counseling and services for struggling families.
WATCH Lowe discuss the challenges of transforming into Peterson in "Untouchable":