I’m hitting a speed-bump in terms of rom-coms, and the result isn’t pretty; watching The Wedding Planner caused me severe internal issues, and even that was a walk in the park compared to Over Her Dead Body, which recently surfaced on Amazon Prime like the non-dissolvable contents of a septic tank. Bad rom-coms are commonplace, but to create real disappointment, you need real talent, and that’s why writer/director Jeff Lowell’s film is deservedly getting the full-service hate-watch treatment.
Having reflected on the near impossibility of matching Matthew Goode and Amy Adams and getting a complete dud (Leap Year), Lowell manages a similar feat of reverse alchemy that defies logic; here’s Paul Rudd, generally agreed to be a charming, ideal lead by all sexes, matched up with Lake Bell, terrific in her comedy In A World. Put them together and you cannot lose, right?
Nope, you lose bigly, buster, because Over Her Dead Body encourages them to give up the spotlight to the limited comedic talents of Eva Longoria Parker. Parker plays Kate Spencer, killed on her wedding day to Henry (Rudd) by a falling ice-sculpture. In the manner of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, Kate comes back to haunt her lover, sabotaging Henry’s attempts to find solace with kooky psychic Ashley (Bell). Meanwhile her supposedly gay flatmate (Jason Biggs) waits in the wings with a secret crush on Ashley…
Longoria Parker presumably was something on Desperate Housewives, but her shrill performance here takes some digesting; her goofy styling set the teeth on edge, and unfortunately seem to send a usually reliable cast off in the wrong direction with much gurning and falling about in a terribly strained manner. A last change of heart facilitates a happy ending, although Kate is left in purgatory while the audience are acquainted in no uncertain terms with the environs of hell. My notes here suggest that the highpoints here are a talking parrot and a brief appearance by Sam Pancake; that’s all you get for your money here. At least Bell and Rudd went on to better things and so should you; anyone who dares to leave a positive comment on this review will be thoroughly chastised AND investigated by the authorities. You have been warned.