New Line // 2008 // 95 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // May 6th, 2008
She's passed on...but she's not moving on.
I always love a good black comedy, but Over Her Dead Body fails to be even a plain bad black comedy. This barely released atrocity is a true stinker, with awful performances and embarrassingly unfunny jokes. What's worse, this film's writer-director seems to want to only rip-off other movies without adding a shred of originality. Now, no thanks to New Line, the film is now available on DVD...and it's completely dead on arrival.
The film opens with Kate (Eva Longoria Parker, Desperate Housewives) preparing to get married to her sweetheart Henry (Paul Rudd, Knocked Up). However, she is so upset at an ice sculpture not having any wings that she demands that it be removed. While it's being hauled away, however, the sculpture falls off the truck and kills Kate, which sends her to heaven.
Kate's brief encounter with an angel (who's wingless, no less) ends up in her angrily telling it to screw off. As a result, she returns to Earth as a ghost. Now believing that she has come back to save Henry from getting romantically involved with a cute psychic named Ashley (Lake Bell, Boston Legal), she sets out to destroy the union any way she can.
Jeff Lowell (who wrote the equally unfunny John Tucker Must Die), is not only responsible for the screenplay, but also makes his inauspicious directorial debut. Lowell seems to think the centuries-old cliché of people talking to invisible ghosts in front of other people is still funny. And if Over Her Dead Body was written with good dialogue, it might have garnered some laughs. However, the tone is flat and disjointed, and much of the comedy is built out of desperation. There's moronic mugging and pitiful pratfalls; if that isn't enough, we are subjected to almost 45 seconds of constant farting.
However, Lowell's biggest mistake is shamelessly ripping-off many good films with the same ideas. At one point, Kate uses Mercedes McCambridge-like demon vocals to frighten Ashley; when it doesn't work, Ashley goes to a priest to do an exorcism (paging the Scary Movie franchise). The story has eerie similarities with Death Becomes Her, and a rip-off of the restaurant sequence in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners, right down to the dialogue.
The usually-charming Paul Rudd has the personality of a doorknob here, and Lake Bell, while sexy, is completely unbelievable in the role of a psychic. The one sole bright spot is Jason Biggs (American Pie), who only has a few scenes as Ashley's "gay confidante."
The nadir of Over Her Dead Body, though, is the Eva Longoria Parker. Granted, her character is poorly written, but her acting is annoyingly amateurish. She should be a prime candidate for this year's Razzie award for Worst Actress, Paris Hilton and The Hottie and the Nottie notwithstanding.
Being a low-budget bomb that didn't even break even at the box office, it's not surprising that the DVD is void of special features. There are some trailers for other New Line releases, but that's it. On the up side, the presentation is pretty damn good, as colors are rich and black levels are solid. The viewer gets the choice to watch the film in 2.35 Anamorphic or Full Frame, and subtitles in English & Spanish are also included.
Over Her Dead Body is so terrible, it makes the Shelley Long vehicle Hello Again look like Ghost. The film, Lowell, and (particularly) Parker, are all found guilty of making the poorest, most painful excuse for a comedy in recent years.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13