Movie Review: Over Her Dead Body

Eva Longoria annoys me. Sure, she’s a beautiful woman, and she’s perfect for her role as Gabrielle in Desperate Housewives. But outside of the bitchy, slutty wife, she really can’t act her way out of a paper bag.

Scratch that. After seeing Over Her Dead Body, I’m convinced that Eva Longoria can’t act her way out of a wet piece of tissue. She brings a Jennifer Lopez level of suck to the screen.

In the film, she plays a micromanaging, ultra-bitchy princess named Kate who is killed on her wedding day by a ice sculpture of an angel. Her fiancé Henry (Paul Rudd) is also crushed. A year later, his pushy sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) convinces him to talk to a psychic named Ashley (Lake Bell) to help him move on. When Henry starts to fall for Ashley, Kate’s ghost comes back from the dead to haunt her.

Yeah, the plot is as skin as Longoria’s scrawny legs.

The foundation for any good romantic comedy is likeable characters, and there are none in this film. Kate is a royal bitch for various reasons. First, for some reason, she hangs around as a ghost for a year but never tries to actually get in touch with Henry. Then she assumes she’s been forced to walk the earth to make sure he never dates anyone.

Longoria’s portrayal of the role is key to making this film sink into the toilet. She is such a wretched person that she becomes a pariah preceding her own wedding reception. Her own death is brought on by yelling at a sculptor and then putting herself in death’s grip by trying to save her stupid gardenias. Then, when she’s sent to the afterlife, she is so verbally abusive to the angel greeting her that she’s left to fend for herself.

Normally, I can feel sorry for a character who has lost the love of his life. But when the love of his life is the awful and completely irritating Kate, I can’t feel any sympathy for him. Henry is a total tool in this movie, and ultimately better off without her.

Then there’s Ashley, who is played by the lovely Lake Bell. However, because Bell possesses a small talent for comedy, incompetent director Jeff Lowell heaps slapstick scenes on her with no real relevance to the plot. Throughout the movie she – and pretty much every other character – is shoehorned into scenes that try to recreate magic from about a dozen romantic comedies of the past, but ultimately fail.

Then there’s Jason Biggs, who plays Ashley’s gay assistant, and he’s a walking cliche of the supporting character from every bad romantic comedy. They even recycle a tired plot twist from Bring It On: In It to Win It to try and give him something to work with. Biggs is wasted in this film, and it’s a shame he’s reduced to this after coming on so strong with American Pie almost a decade ago.

Honestly, the only decent character is a ridiculously fat golden labrador that comes to Henry’s veterinarian’s office for a check-up. If only the movie were about the dog, it might have had a chance of being decent.

For many years, I have said that the beauty of a genre film like science fiction or horror is that even when the film is terrible, it can be good, in a funny way. However, a bad comedy is just bad. There’s really nothing funny about an unfunny comedy script.

Yet, Over Her Dead Body does the impossible. Its script is so unbelievably bad that it’s laughable – and that’s actually an amazing feat for a comedy. It’s not a good feat, or anything to be proud of, but it is amazing nonetheless.

The Upside: Well, Lake Bell is easy on the eyes.

The Downside: Pretty much every scrap of dialogue from beginning to end.

On the Side: I know her name is officially Eva Longoria Parker, but I don’t call her that. Eva Longoria is enough of a mouthful, and who honestly thinks this Hollywood relationship will last more than a year or two?

Grade: D

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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