What’s with this trend where sitcoms get to be movies? It’s one thing to adapt a sitcom or TV show (and it’ll more than likely be a big mistake), but to deliberately take ideas and scripts that would barely pass a Screenwriting 101 class and green light them for the big screen is becoming increasingly maddening. This January has been surprisingly pain-free, a rarity for sure, but this heap brings matters back to a stark reality.
We meet Kate (Longoria Parker) as the film opens. It’s her wedding day and she’s in full bridezilla mode. It’s short-lived; she is promptly crushed by an ice-sculpted angel without wings (cue the running gag). A year later, the would-be husband, Henry (Rudd), is still a wreck. Desperate, his sister, Chloe (Sloane), takes him to psychiatrist Ashley (Bell) in the hopes that she’ll give him some hope in life. Henry begins to have feelings for Ashley, and this doesn’t sit well with the late Kate, who has the power to terrorize the relationship from the afterlife.
Writer/director Jeff Lowell, whose John Tucker Must Die was way better than it had any right to be, bogs down the script with clichés and a severe lack of payoff. His background in TV is apparent as each scene is written in sitcom format. Things happen, we’re supposed to laugh, and then it moves on with a very short-term memory. Only the character of Henry is even remotely funny, but that can most likely be attributed to Paul Rudd’s improvisation skills.
As stale as the screenplay is, it pales in comparison to the horrific “acting” by Eva Longoria Parker. Known more as a tabloid queen than an actress, there’s simply no excuse for this awful display of whining, bitching, and complete absence of comedic skill. It’s very curious that she receives top billing considering she appears only in about 1/3 of the film’s running time. The bulk of the proceedings fall on the shoulders of Paul Rudd, a very capable actor, and Lake Bell, a relative newcomer who at least seems clued in to the ridiculousness unfolding around her. I’m compelled to give Rudd the benefit of the doubt, but he’s going to have to be much pickier if he ever wants to be a leading man. And how could I forget the next rung down the ladder of Jason Biggs’ career? What he does for cash money in this flick almost has to be seen to be believed, but I digress.
Over Her Dead Body overstays its welcome, even at a scant 93 minutes. This is what we call a comedy dead zone, and on top of that there isn’t a whole lot of romance for those unsuspecting couples who meander into the screening room. As for Eva Longoria Parker, let’s dump some water on this fire before it spreads. With her and Dane Cook on the loose, the romantic comedy genre could indeed signal the end of the world.
Studio: New Line Cinema
Length: 93 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language.
Theatrical Release: February 1, 2008
Directed by: Jeff Lowell
Written by: Jeff Lowell
Cast: Eva Longoria Parker, Paul Rudd, Lake Bell, Jason Biggs, Lindsay Sloane, Stephen Root