Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 23 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Over Her Dead Body
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
Who doesn’t love a good revenge story? Don’t we all secretly wish for the power to make a rival suffer or at least be embarrassed enough to concede defeat? Such is the case with bridezilla Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) killed in a freak ice angel accident on her wedding day, pissing off the “white lady” (Kali Rocha) in heaven who has important instructions for her, and returning to earth clueless about her mission. She mistakenly believes it to be rescuing her fiancé from his new love interest, an improbable psychic with a catering business on the side.
Ashley (Lake Bell) is said psychic/caterer with a gay assistant, Dan (Jason Biggs) and nerdy mannerisms that are supposed to endear us to her despite endless cleavage and leg exposure (unnecessary) to pound us about the head that she is attractive which it seems in Hollywood, is a virtue. Ashley must be tall with large breasts and a smile you could broadcast drive-in movies on. There must be opportunities for her to be endearingly nerdy so that the viewer can get a semi-accidental crotch shot out of the deal. Hey, she’s clumsy, okay?
Kate’s fiancé Henry (Paul Rudd) is a veterinarian with an overly protective sister, Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) who, after a year has passed, wants him to move on in life Kate, and score another love interest. She concocts a deceitful way for Ashley to convince Henry that Kate has communicated exactly that through the medium. Ashley embellishes the message, declaring herself to be Henry’s new love, to the chagrin of Chloe and the wrath of mischievous Kate.
A vengeful Kate haunts Ashley, not secretly, but right out in the open to discourage her from seeing Henry. Ashley takes up the challenge and the rivalry is on, with Kate having the unfair advantage of possessing supernatural powers. Like the Brandy/Monique song a few years back titled, “The Boy Is Mine,” Henry becomes the rope in this tug of war between the living and the dead.
Some of Kate’s antics don’t make sense, and she could be a lot more devious and imaginative in her stunts. But we’re not supposed to hate her, just wish for her to finally “get it.” We sure get it, after having heavily formulaic plot pounded into our brains at every turn.
Paul eventually finds out about his sister Chloe’s ruse and is disappointed with Ashley’s involvement. Misunderstanding in place, according to time-tested formula, Henry and Ashley can now be officially miserable without each other.
The classic (and ancient) formula of boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy realizes girl is right for him is alive and well in this plot line despite a few dead characters. Do I really have to tell you the outcome?
Eva Longoria Parker is possessively impish as the ice angel casualty. Paul Rudd could use a hair stylist and it appears he has taken notes from his previous role in Clueless; here, he really is, irritatingly so.
Lake Bell is charming and wide-eyed, with great comedic timing. Hopefully, more meaty roles will come her way so that she doesn’t have to rely on her body as much as her intellect, which is just fine. She is the best and the worst of the film, charm and quirky line delivery winning over forced bimbo antics when all is said and done.
Poor Jason Biggs has the kind of unbelievable role that comes with the need for a plot contrivance. My problem with this is that it will make some people think his behavior/sentiments/sacrifices are realistic and routine – a great disservice to men and women alike.
Writer/Director Jeff Lowell, in his directorial debut, has attempted to create a slapstick, modern day fairy tale, thrown in some vulgarity and sexual cheap shots, a lot of “gee whiz” and even more wisecracks. Only Longoria Parker, as the deceased but determined near-bride behaves the most believably, mischievous until the end, never really accepting her situation. I identified with her mean streak during this romp through the land of the (brain) dead.
This is a movie some segments of the audience would call “cute.” There’s a place for it, I suppose. I only know that when people use that particular adjective about my writing, I start imagining sharp, cartoon machetes and long, terrifying chase scenes with me as the aggressor.
Still, it tries to make you laugh. Sometimes Bell succeeds, and that’s good for something. For some, it may even be good enough.
As for me…someone asked me to see the film a second time. “Over my dead….” I replied. You get the picture, formula and all.