Mitch Ryan in A Stranger with My Kids (2017) (aka: Manny Dearest)

The Nightmare Manny

Having decided to return to work Karen (Ashley Scott) is looking for someone to help look after her two boys which leads to her hiring herself a manny called Alex (Mitch Ryan), who arrives at her door after having interviewed several who were no good. And Alex seems a dream come true as he is good with her children, cleans, cooks and basically will do anything to make life easy for Karen although he isn't so happy when he meets Greg (Woody Jeffreys), her boyfriend. It is Greg who realises that there is something not right about Alex as he seems too perfect but also seems to be trying to come between them. But when Greg starts to look in to Alex's past he discover some dark secrets which makes him fear for Karen and the boys' lives.

If you haven't watched "A Stranger with My Kids" yet and read that synopsis it certainly sounds like another one of those Lifetime movies which reworks a familiar script of a hired help who turns out to be a psycho and who wants to be part of the family he works for on an intimate level. The one obvious difference is of course these movies often feature a female nanny who tries to get rid of the wife so she can become wife to the husband and mother to the children but here we have a manny who wants to snag himself a wife and kids. As such there is some familiar scenes from dealing with one of the kids bullies to Alex spying on Greg whilst acting ominously as well as losing it when frustration gets the better of him.

Ashley Scott and Woody Jeffreys in A Stranger with My Kids (2017) (aka: Manny Dearest)

What though makes "A Stranger with My Kids" enjoyable is I am sure some intentional tongue in cheek moments which are enjoyably ridiculous, such as a scene where Karen has Greg sneak out of the house having spent the night. But it is Mitch Ryan who makes this movie as when as Alex he gets angry, frustrated and loses it he really loses it and it is entertaining. He also does a nice job of playing Alex a little humble but making him a little too full on which makes it comical. As for Ashley Scott this is certainly a lot more relaxed performance from Scott than in a previous movie where she had a nightmare nanny to deal with.

What this all boils down to is that "A Stranger with My Kids" is just a variation on the usual psycho nanny made for TV movie with the nanny switched for a manny. Yet it has this wonderful tone of being slightly humorous in places and full on over the top in others which helps to make the familiarity of it all entertaining.