Death Unbecomes Her

'Over Her Dead Body' delivers exactly what you'd expect. So long as your expectations are really, really low

Perhaps everyone who goes to see Over Her Dead Body will leave the theater believing themselves psychic, because it’s impossible not to see every plot development coming before it happens. Without real twists and turns — more gentle bends in the movie road — the film delivers exactly what you’d expect. So long as your expectations are really, really low.

The movie is heavily billed as a major vehicle for Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Parker. And desperation is an unfortunately apt word to use when considering that she chose this clunker to star in.

Langoria (left)
Eva Langoria Parker (left)

Longoria Parker plays Kate, the epitome of bridezilla — she’s more terrifying than any creature that ever destroyed New York. She’s so horrible, when finance Henry (Paul Rudd) stops her and tells her to relax, you want to shake him and say, ”What the hell are you thinking? Don’t marry her!” Thanks to a large ice sculpture, which may or may not be an angel (one of the film’s many unfunny running jokes), Kate dies before she becomes a housewife to Henry. True to her shrewish nature, Kate manages to piss off the welcome wagon angel so much that she misses out on the afterlife orientation.

Meanwhile, back on earth, Henry doesn’t realize how lucky he is to have dodged the bullet of marrying Gabby. I mean Kate. Because Kate’s scheming, shallow, self-absorbed persona is nothing like Longoria Parker’s role of the scheming, shallow, self-absorbed Gabby on Desperate Housewives. Except it’s exactly the same. In fact, everything in the movie is something you’ve seen before.

Henry’s sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) convinces him to see a psychic in order to gain closure on his previous relationship. The psychic in question is Ashley (Lake Bell), who happens to be a caterer on side and has a heart of gold. While it’s never explicitly revealed whether Ashley truly believes that she has the sixth sense, her shock at seeing Kate, who starts haunting her to stay away from Henry, makes it seem like it was a scam.

As with any romantic comedy, hilarity is supposed to ensue when Kate tries to sabotage things and Ashley becomes even more resolved to win Henry over. The poor guy, he’s just a magnet for crazy. But the jokes are old and tired and the lack of chemistry between any of the actors is astonishing.

Writer and director Jeff Lowell has pieced together a film with gaps big enough to drive a Mack Truck through with an end result that’s more awkward than a teenage boy at his first high school dance. The various skits that amount to each scene are sewn together to resemble a creature akin to Frankenstein’s monster. When in doubt or needing a transition, Lowell throws in a scene in which Kate pulls one over on Ashley, only possible since Ashley’s short-term memory is equivalent to that of a goldfish.

OVER HER DEAD BODY
star
Starring Eva Longoria Parker, Paul Rudd, Jason Biggs
Rated PG-13
95 Minutes
Area Theaters

Jason Biggs makes an appearance as Ashley’s gay best friend and catering partner, though he’s helpless in the kitchen and gives advice that goes unheeded. Biggs’ attempts at playing gay include an earring, a little necklace and constant reminders from Ashley that he’s gay. Though I’m revealing a huge plot point, it’s too insulting and ridiculous not to mention that Biggs’s character eventually outs himself as straight. It was all a misunderstanding and he’s actually in love with Ashley. Though it’s mildly amusing to listen to him rant about how hard and expensive it is to be gay, it’s really just the final, fatal tipping point in a movie already teetering on the edge.

There is nothing new in Over Her Dead Body, except maybe different faces. Going through movie history, the multitude of other ”back from the dead” stories is plentiful: Ghost. Hello Again. All of Me. Heaven Can Wait. Down to Earth. Just Like Heaven. Death Becomes Her. The list goes on and on and on.

See any of these films instead of Over Her Dead Body. They’re time on earth far better spent.

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