Film Review: ‘Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife’

This torturously unfunny pileup of suburban hijinks marks the feature writing-directing debut of actor Scott Foley.

Let's Kill Ward's Wife Review

Let’s not linger on “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife,” a wannabe-dark comedy about a gaggle of good-looking young suburbanites getting away with some monstrously ugly deeds. The woman who winds up dead is a miserably overbearing shrew named Stacy (Dagmara Dominczyk, deserving better), but according to the topsy-turvy moral logic of Scott Foley’s rancid writing-directing debut, the real victim here is her henpecked husband, Ward (Donald Faison), who solemnly memorializes his wife’s death by urinating in the bathtub containing her hacked-up remains. That’s what passes for a comic highlight in this torturously unfunny exercise, which doesn’t even rise to the level of competent misogyny, and looks set to die a quicker death than Stacy herself in limited theatrical and VOD release.

In what might generously be interpreted as a sort of authorial mea culpa, Foley (“Scandal”) casts himself as the guilty party, Tom. Provoked once too often by the relentlessly bitchy Stacy, he slams her face into a birthday cake, then strangles her when she gets knocked out in the ensuing scuffle. No one in their circle of friends is remotely grief-stricken — least of all Ward, now a happy widower and single dad — and together they conspire to clean up the crime. Murder, far from being a moral contagion, turns out to be a fine and dandy solution to everyone’s problems. The sense of danger rejuvenates Tom’s boring marriage to Gina (Amy Acker), while David (Patrick Wilson), a washed-up TV actor, displays enough cold-blooded initiative and medical knowledge to impress his estranged wife, Amanda (Marika Dominczyk).

Also in the mix: a wisecracking horndog bachelor (James Carpinello), a clueless cop (Greg Grunberg) and a famous, cougarish actress played by Nicollette Sheridan — an unexpectedly fitting bit of casting for a movie that suggests an episode of “Desperate Housewives” as directed by a 12-year-old. Foley hasn’t a clue how to make these bougie ciphers interesting, much less how to extract anything funny, tense, shocking, relatable or observant from his banal scenario. Stacy dies around the half-hour mark; by the time the film itself expires, 51 long minutes later, you’re likely to regard her not with pity so much as envy.

Film Review: ‘Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife’

Reviewed online, Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 8, 2015. Running time: 81 MIN.

  • Production: A Well Go USA Entertainment/Tribeca Film release of a Lost Rhino Films and the Magone Prods. presentation. Produced by James Carpinello, Scott Foley, Joe Hardesty, Patrick Wilson.
  • Crew: Directed, written by Scott Foley. Camera (color, widescreen), Eduardo Barraza; editor, Rebecca Weigold Stocker; music, John Spiker; production designer, Lindsay Moran; art director, Steve Morden; costume designer, Reiko Kurumada; sound, Kevin Compayre; sound designer, Mike Weinstein; assistant director, Jeff Shiffman; casting, Marisa Ross.
  • With: Amy Acker, James Carpinello, Dagmara Dominczyk, Marika Dominczyk, Donald Faison, Scott Foley, Greg Grunberg, Nicollette Sheridan, Patrick Wilson.