Tuesday, 05 December 2023

Romance sparks fews laughs 'Over Her Dead Body'


We’re still coping with the post-holiday movie blues, where new films just aren’t that good, and now Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon. That can only mean more formulaic romantic comedies are on the way, and “Over Her Dead Body” is the latest entrant from the date movie factory.

There’s some mildly good news to this situation. If you survived 27 Dresses, chances are you will find Over Her Dead Body more bearable, if only because the romance sparks a few good laughs.

Eva Longoria Parker, famed for her role in Desperate Housewives, is required to do little more than act like an annoying shrew in the role of Kate, the future bride killed on her wedding day by a falling ice sculpture of an angel without wings.

Over Her Dead Body opens as Kate obsesses over every small detail during the chaotic wedding preparations before her accidental death. Her Bridezilla-like attempt to make everything perfect is driving everyone crazy.

The mystery of the pending marriage is that Kate’s fiancé is the placid Henry (Paul Rudd), an easy-going veterinarian who seems ill-matched to such a control freak. In any event, Henry is so traumatized by the loss of his future bride that the story jumps to a year later when Henry is unable to move on with his life. His reclusive state elicits concern from his vivacious sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane), who determines that he needs permission from the dearly departed Kate to start life anew.

At Chloe’s urging, though skeptical about psychic powers, Henry reluctantly agrees to meet Ashley (Lake Bell), a medium who happens to also run a catering company with her gay best friend Dan (Jason Biggs). The initial reading doesn’t go well, and while remaining more skeptical than ever, Henry is intrigued by Ashley, perhaps because she’s pretty and refuses payment, though not necessarily in that order.

Meanwhile, Chloe does not give up on her brother, deciding that a little harmless subterfuge may be the best approach. She steals Kate’s diary so that Ashley could have some inside information that might convince Henry that her psychic powers deserve a second chance. Ashley, of course, uses the diary’s tidbits to pretend that she’s channeling Kate’s spirit.

The ruse works better than expected, and yet unintended consequences abruptly follow. Kate’s ghost materializes but only to be seen by Ashley. Revealing that she’s not changed in the afterlife, she’s disgruntled and possessive, unable to let go of Henry. Not surprisingly, Kate is upset that Ashley has designs on her former fiancé, and as a result, the ectoplasmic shrew goes on the warpath against her romantic nemesis.

What’s a disturbed ghost to do? The only option is to turn Ashley’s life into a living hell by using her ghostly powers to torment and humiliate. Relentless efforts to sabotage the budding romance between Ashley and Henry are intended to evoke the spirit of screwball romantic comedy, and there are moments when this is executed to humorous satisfaction.

Over Her Dead Body makes a far better showcase for the talents of Paul Rudd and Lake Bell than it does for the titular star. Eva Longoria Parker seems ill-suited for romantic comedy, as her nasty shrewish behavior is more fitting for her TV character. It was also disconcerting to see that her skin color was a strangely orange-brown hue, an unnatural look for a ghostly apparition.

Displaying his customarily dry sarcasm, Rudd comes off the best with snappy patter and wry, humorous observations. In addition to her beauty, Lake Bell’s bubbly, cheerful spirit brings welcome relief.


It seems only fitting that at a time of year when there are more movies than usual geared to a female audience, Sony Pictures decides to release The Jane Austen Book Club for home entertainment.

Based on the Karen J. Fowler best-selling novel, the movie focuses on an eclectic group of Austen aficionados who search for answers within six classic novels.

Kathy Bates has survived six divorces; Emily Blunt’s school teacher is crushed by her husband’s insensitivity; Maria Bello sticks to dog breeding; Amy Brenneman is horrified by her husband’s infidelity; Maggie Grace struggles with sexual identity. Hugh Dancy is the lone male in the book club. Together, they discuss the English writer’s beloved novels in search of answers for the mysteries of love.

The Jane Austen Book Club DVD, in addition to the customary documentary features, includes seven deleted scenes.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.


Upcoming Calendar

12.05.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
12.06.2023 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
East Region Town Hall
12.09.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.09.2023 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas in Middletown
12.10.2023 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Concerts with Conversation: Kennedy Jazz Trio
12.14.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event
12.16.2023 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Kelseyville Wreaths Across America ceremony
12.16.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.21.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event

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