×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Over Her Dead Body

Deceased fiancee Eva Longoria Parker returns to haunt Paul Rudd's subsequent romantic prospects in "Over Her Dead Body." But what's really spooky is that even the weakest "Desperate Housewives" episode packs more heat than this tepid romantic comedy-fantasy, whose basic plot gimmick has been done as far back as "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."

With:
Kate - Eva Longoria Parker Henry - Paul Rudd Ashley - Lake Bell Dan - Jason Biggs Chloe - Lindsay Sloane Sculptor - Stephen Root

Deceased fiancee Eva Longoria Parker returns to haunt Paul Rudd’s subsequent romantic prospects in “Over Her Dead Body.” But what’s really spooky is that even the weakest “Desperate Housewives” episode packs more heat than this tepid romantic comedy-fantasy, whose basic plot gimmick has been done as far back as “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” Vet sitcom writer Jeff Lowell’s feature directorial debut is short on charm and laughs, and will expire quickly before an OK afterlife on DVD, cable and airplanes.

Just before her lavish outdoor wedding to Long Beach veterinarian Henry (Rudd), Kate (Longoria Parker) is exhibiting a Type A-plus personality, driving the caterers and everyone else mad with her micromanagement. Mortified that the ice-sculpture angel she’d ordered arrives sans wings, she orders the boozy artist (Stephen Root) to haul it away.

But it accidentally falls on her, abruptly terminating more than just the nuptials. Waking in an all-white limbo, Kate proves so indignant and argumentative with a real (and wingless) angel that she’s sent off — neither to heaven nor hell, just off — without the “orientation instructions” the angel gave up trying to give her.

A year later, Henry’s sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) wants to get him out of his funk and back onto the dating scene. She figures he needs closure and badgers him into an appointment with her acquaintance Ashley (Lake Bell), a part-time psychic.

Chloe steals Kate’s old diary and begs reluctant Ashley to fool Henry into thinking Kate wants him get on with his life. This works, but it also brings restless ghost-Kate onto the scene. Furious at her rival’s duplicity, she finds she can be seen/heard only by Ashley (as well as animals), using that to terrify the young woman out of a tentative, mutually sparked relationship with Henry. Hilarity does not ensue en route to Kate’s inevitable realization of what she has to do (and really wants, anyway) to get into heaven.

Slapstick, character writing and situations are generic at best. There’s one bright idea — involving a parrot — but it’s canceled out by the elaboration of a bad one that tries to put a cute (but condescending) twist on Jason Biggs’ role as Ashley’s (yawn) funny gay best friend.

Rudd, who was delightful last year in everything from “Knocked Up” to “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” proves that not even he can wring wit from this script’s stone. He’s still better than the material, as is “Boston Legal’s” Bell, despite little chemistry between them.

Sloane’s Chloe suffers from being one flaky-girl-type too many. Longoria Parker’s part is a one-note bitch that she does nothing to make funny or distinctive beyond looking good.

This latter quality the pic itself achieves, though the widescreen lensing is so sunny-SoCal, you’d think Los Angelenos virtually swim in cream and orange. Other design aspects are glossily pro on a budget. David Kitay’s score and soundtracked pop music cues are Contempo Romantic Comedy 101.

Popular on Variety

Over Her Dead Body

Production: A New Line Cinema release of a New Line and Gold Circle Films presentation of a Safran Co. production. Produced by Paul Brooks, Peter Safran. Executive producers, Scott Niemeyer, Norm Waitt. Directed, written by Jeff Lowell.

Crew: Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), John Bailey; editor, Matthew Friedman; music, David Kitay; music supervisor, Sarah Webster; production designer, Cory Lorenzen; art director, Nathan Ogilvie; set decorator, Tara Stephenson; costume designer, Tracy Tynan; sound (Dolby/DTS/SDDS), James Tanenbaum; sound designers, James Fonnyadt, Devan Kraushar; FX, Amalgamated Pixels; assistant director, Tony Steinberg; casting, Eyde Belasco. Reviewed at Variety Club Screening Room, San Francisco, Jan. 14, 2008. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Kate - Eva Longoria Parker Henry - Paul Rudd Ashley - Lake Bell Dan - Jason Biggs Chloe - Lindsay Sloane Sculptor - Stephen Root

More Film

  • Global Screen Nabs ‘Amazing Maurice,’ Based

    Global Screen Picks Up ‘The Amazing Maurice,’ Based on Terry Pratchett’s Novel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Global Screen has picked up worldwide distribution rights, excluding North America, the U.K. and German-speaking territories, to the English-language animated feature “The Amazing Maurice,” based on a Terry Pratchett novel. The screenplay has been written by Terry Rossio, Oscar-nominated for “Shrek.” Rossio’s credits also include the animated movie “Aladdin” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” [...]

  • Yoji Yamada-directed film is to open

    Tokyo Market: Shochiku Launches Horror, Comedy and Mystery Lineup

    Major Japanese studio, Shochiku has the honor of leading off next week’s Tokyo International Film Festival with its “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here.” The film is a revival of a beloved in-house drama franchise, directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, that is set as the event’s opening night gala presentation. Before that, the company has the [...]

  • The Truth

    Singapore Festival to Focus on Asian Excellence for 30th Edition

    For its 30th edition the Singapore International Film Festival has avoided programming novelty and instead focused on assembling excellence – mostly indie titles — from Asia and further afield. The festival, which previously announced local filmmaker Anthony Chen’s second feature “Wet Season” as its opening night gala presentation, announced the balance of its programming on [...]

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content