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'Over Her Dead Body' A Total Stiff
Romantic comedy suffers from a case of the sames
Brian Orndorf (briano)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2008-01-31 16:08 (KST)   
©2008 Gold Circle Films
Among the many things deceased besides the main character in this painful romantic comedy are the screenplay, the direction, most of the performances, and any trace of heart. It셲 a softball of a motion picture, somehow mistakenly ending up in theaters when it would find a more receptive home in the warm bosom of the Lifetime cable channel.

When bridezilla Kate (Eva Longoria) is killed by an ice sculpture on her wedding day, she awakens in heaven as an angel with a serious attitude problem. When her fiance Henry (Paul Rudd) seeks out the guidance of a psychic, Ashley (Lake Bell), he finds an attraction to the curious medium, finding some joy again after a year of depression. For Ashley, the situation is more complicated: while falling in love with Henry, she셲 soon haunted by the ghost of Kate, who doesn셳 want anyone going near her man.

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Writer/director Jeff Lowell has an extensive history in the sitcom world, so it makes sense that his filmmaking debut, "Over Her Dead Body," would be such a bloodless, derivative puddle of pap. Heck, even the title stinks of mid-season replacement status (쏞oming up next, she ain셳 쁣raid of no ghost! Cybill Shepherd and Ted Danson star in 쁎ver Her Dead Body쇺). Right from the first frame, the production starts flinging toe-curling screenwriting 101 crud toward the paying crowd at a frightening velocity. Moviegoers, we all deserve better.

쏡ead Body is caught in a web of routine, trotting out the rom-com formula without mercy. It셲 almost disturbing how much of this movie has been viewed in both better and worse creations, but the bottom line is Lowell has no talent and no instincts to elevate the screenplay away from eye-rolling examples of absolute incompetence. Any faceless filmmaker could셶e made this picture, and frankly I wish someone else had.

How any actors could be attracted to this route lesson of spirit-world jealousy makes my head hurt. Somehow nabbing Paul Rudd to play the male lead is even more confusing. Perhaps Rudd had a house payment that needed attending to, but I셫 thrilled he showed up for shooting. Desperately going off the page in an effort to push aside Lowell셲 crummy writing, Rudd셲 instinct for improvisation is one of the few aspects of 쏡ead Body worth sticking around for. His dead eyes speak volumes about the professional holding pattern he셲 engaged in, but his quick tongue scores some smiles; a reaction the picture seems allergic to.

While no one in their right mind would believe Rudd and Longoria as a couple, the actor has more interesting chemistry with Lake Bell, who throws performance curveballs of her own to keep the movie mildly palatable. Bell is a terrific performer, and she pushes hard to keep 쏡ead Body afloat with askew line readings and forced, but diverting Lucyesque slapstick that she lunges for with admirable aplomb. Of course, Rudd and Bell can only goes as far as Lowell allows, and their efforts are further neutered by an odious supporting performance from Jason Biggs (painfully channeling the spirit of Mr. Bean) as Ashley셲 gay business partner and Longoria셲 grating turn as a vengeful, horrible actress. I mean spirit.

쏡ead Body sits comfortably on the rom-com guiderails, even to the end; set, of course, at an airport, where our hero races to prevent his true love from flying away, only to stumble over every possible slapstick setback an airport offers. Even viewers who see just two movies a year will have already witnessed a scene almost exactly like this one.

D
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Brian Orndorf

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