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- Category: Judy Thorburn
- Published on 06 November 2008
- Written by Administrator
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"OVER HER DEAD BODY" - LIFELESS COMEDY CAN'T BE SAVED BY THE 'BELL'
It is said that some people are dying to get married. That appears to be true for the character Eva Longoria-Parker plays in Over Her Dead Body, when on the day of her wedding she is crushed to death by an angel, or rather, a life sized ice sculpture of one in a freak accident.
Instead of spending eternity in heaven or for that matter, resting in peace, Kate (Eva Longoria-Parker) spends most of the time on screen back on earth as a ghostly spirit (with a remarkable spray on tan and perfectly coiffed hair, no less) making the new woman in her almost husband’s life miserable. The fact that his potential love interest happens to be a psychic is a contrived plot device that falls flat due to a poorly written script and Jeff Lowell’s disappointing directorial debut that fails to ignite any spark.
Most of the supposed humor revolves around Ashley (Lake Bell) talking to a dead person that only she can see, as if that’s something new and original. That premise worked so well for Whoopi Goldberg who brought so much to the role of psychic on a mission in 1979’s “Ghost” one of the most endearing films of that genre. Over Her Dead Body, on the other hand, doesn’t give any reason to care for any one of the characters and comes across like a typical TV situation comedy with forced sketches, sight gags, and overused clichés.
Paul Rudd is Henry, Kate’s clueless former fiancée and a veterinarian who a year after her death is still pining for his girlfriend. That’s where Ashley, the psychic, who also works as a caterer with her gay assistant (Jason Biggs of American Pie fame) comes in. Henry’s sister Choe (Lindsay Sloane) is concerned that her brother has trouble letting go, so she takes him to visit Ashley (Lake Bell) in hopes of communicating with Kate so that she will convince him to finally move on.
Everyone knows, from the trailers, that doesn’t happen. On the contrary, after seeing their mutual attraction, in a fit of jealously Kate uses her ghostly powers to do everything she can to stand between Henry and Ashley’s blossoming love match so that she can drive Ashley away, or so she thinks.
This is a film that was obviously written for simple minded audiences who don’t have to think and are expected to get big laughs from overlong stupid scenes; none of which are the least bit funny. One scene involves passing gas. Another is in the vet’s office where his assistants are continually struggling to pick up a big dog, and yet another has Ashley running out of the gym almost naked after Kate pulls one of her stunts.
I wish I could say there is some chemistry between the characters. I wish I could say so, but I can’t. What I can say is that this film follows the usual, repeated formula to a T, and is so predictable that it leaves no doubt as to the outcome.
Eva is billed as the star of the film, but truth be told Lake Bell, an actress best known for her work on TV’s The Practice and Surface, the cancelled sci fl series from a few seasons back, steals her thunder in this sophomoric romantic comedy.
I can’t possibly recommend this film but I will say that Bell is the best thing about it. She shows a natural flair for comedy, a charming presence, and rises above the weak script. Given the right material she shows promise of a major career on the big screen. Eva, on the other hand has not proven she has what it takes to be a film star. None of her big screen roles have yet to show that she can stretch herself an actress. Mind you, Kate could be the twin sister of her “Desperate Housewife”, if you know what I mean. They are one of the same: a controlling, self absorbed, sassy little pistol with some sex appeal.
There are worse ways to waste your time, but why spend it on this bland piece of drivel. If “spirited” comedies are your thing, besides the aforementioned Ghost, there are innumerable films about dead people returning to earth that are far more worthy than Over My Dead Body. There is 1937’s Topper with Cary Grant, 1945’s Blithe Spirit, 1941’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan, its 1978 remake starring Warren Beatty, Heaven Can Wait, and most recently 2005’s Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon, to name a few, that I would gladly enjoy watching again. Would I choose to engage myself in a repeat performance of this film? Over MY dead body.