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'Over Her Dead Body' Movie Review

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

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'Over Her Dead Body' Movie Review

Eva Longoria Parker and Lake Bell square off in Over Her Dead Body.

© New Line Cinema
A bride killed by an angel made of ice on her wedding day returns to haunt the psychic interested in her would-be hubby in Over Her Dead Body starring Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) and the always-charming, ever-dependable Paul Rudd. Wiping out the bride-to-be within the first 10 minutes of the movie by crushing her with an ice sculpture gets the film off to a chilly start, after which nothing really heats up. Adopting a scattershot approach to finding laughs, this romantic comedy gets buried under jokes we’ve seen before and situations that are more uncomfortable than funny.

The Ghosts of Romantic Comedies Past must have visited writer/director Jeff Lowell as he pounded out the screenplay. Even if we haven’t witnessed these exact scenes before, we’ve watched enough movies with scenes just like them to know exactly how everything is going to play out.

The Story

Kate (aka Bridezilla, aka Every Wedding Planner’s Nightmare) is doing her best diva impersonation on what’s supposed to be the most joyous occasion of her life when a drunken ice sculptor accidentally dumps a huge wingless ice angel on her, crushing her quicker than you can say ‘I do.’ Smashed, and not in a good way, Kate arrives in a waystation on the road to heaven. Pushy, loud, and angry over missing out on wedding cake and champagne, Kate won’t listen to the angel who appears to tell her what she needs to do in order to pass through the pearly gates.

Wandering the spirit world for months without a clue, Kate finally figures out she must be there for a reason – and that reason must be to keep her fiancé, veterinarian and overall good guy Henry (Rudd), from hooking up with a psychic/caterer named Ashley (Lake Bell). Henry’s sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) thinks it’s time for her brother to get on with his life, and the only way she could come up with to convince him it’s okay to move on is to take him to a psychic.

Eva Longoria Parker and Paul Rudd in Over Her Dead Body.

© New Line Cinema
The psychic, with inside info from Kate’s diary supplied by Chloe, urges Henry to put the past behind him. And, of course, she’s cute and bubbly and the perfect cure for Henry’s blues. But Kate is ready for a fight. After all, what’s she got to lose? She’s got nothing but free time on her hands and plenty of ideas on how to drive Ashley crazy.

The Cast

Longoria Parker gives a spirited performance as a ghost who doesn’t want her almost-hubby to move on. Longoria Parker gamely goes for the jugular as she tries to scare off the ditzy psychic/caterer who’s spending time with her man. However, despite her valiant efforts, there’s a major problem with the story Longoria Parker can’t overcome. Kate was killed off before writer/director Lowell let us get to know her and while being a raving witch, and so yeah, she’s dead on her wedding day, but so what? There’s no compassion generated for her character. Plus, her methods for haunting Ashley are annoying and silly which make her even less sympathetic.

Lake Bell in smaller doses might have been okay in the part, but too much of the film focuses on her and she’s not up to carrying so much of the story forward. The same can be said for Jason Biggs. He’s great in little bits, but when Over Her Dead Body switches to his story, it totally stalls out.

Paul Rudd’s done his share of romantic comedies and even when they don’t work, he comes out smelling like a rose. Rudd’s got the most engaging smile and he works it for all it’s worth in Over Her Dead Body. Rudd and the actress who plays his sister, Lindsay Sloane, are really the only two bright spots in an otherwise lackluster movie. There’s something very genuine about the way Rudd and Sloane play off of each other. In fact, they actually would have been far better suited as a couple than Rudd and either Longoria Parker or Rudd and Bell who share zero chemistry.

Eva Longoria Parker and Lake Bell in Over Her Dead Body.

© New Line Cinema
The Bottom Line

When you have to resort to slapstick, farting, lighting a character on fire, a best friend who may or may not be gay, and a fat dog for humor, you know you’re scrapping the bottom of the joke barrel. The plot’s all over the place and so is the tone. Even the lighting is horrid. And don’t even try to figure out what motivates any of these characters. Other than the deceased bride who gets to spend all but five minutes of the movie being the world’s most annoying person dead or alive, not a single character remains true throughout the course of the film.

Don’t bother checking for a pulse. Over Her Dead Body is DOA.

GRADE: C-

Over Her Dead Body was directed by Jeff Lowell and is rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

Theatrical Release Date: February 1, 2008

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