Dead on arrival

Feb. 5, 2008, midnight | By Kate Harter | 16 years, 5 months ago

"Over Her Dead Body" does not deliver

The previews were bad; that usually says something. A dead woman follows around her ex-fiance's new flame in order to keep her love safe and happy? Who would want to see that movie? Who would even want to make that movie? Unfortunately, the previews are basically as good as it gets. "Over Her Dead Body," an attempt at a romantic comedy that dies on-screen and doesn't revive itself for the whole hour-plus runtime.

Jeff Lowell's "Over Her Dead Body" starts as the story of a picture-perfect couple on their wedding day. Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) and Henry (Paul Rudd) are to say their vows in just a few hours when Kate is crushed by a sculpted ice angel and killed. Henry just can't move on, and a year later his sister brings him to psychic Ashley (Lake Bell). All Ashley wants to do is help Henry get along with life by contacting Kate, but instead, Ashley develops feelings for her client. The ghost of Kate, though, isn't too happy about this new development, and does everything in her power to keep Ashley away from her fianc".

Writer Jeff Lowell's directorial debut proves that he is better at putting words on paper than he is at getting action across on the screen. There are several clever quips and Paul Rudd stays true to his usual funny with his witty one-liners, but everything else is lackluster, from the overly dramatic music to the uninspired acting.

Eva Longoria Parker plays the same sort of character as usual; on TV's "Desperate Housewives," she is Gabrielle, the snooty, rich and jealous housewife envied by all the men. In "Over Her Dead Body," Parker is again just a beautiful woman who is stuck up and envious of any women around her fiance. She creates trouble for everyone in the movie and it isn't hard to come away with the feeling that everyone could have saved a lot of time if her character hadn't been so self-centered and stupid.

Lake Bell, known best for her dull performance on "Boston Legal," is anything but extraordinary. She whines, she mopes, she cries and she moans, but she still doesn't inspire. The audience is more likely to come away wishing she had taken up some other career than feeling as though Bell has been able to fulfill any hopes it had for her character.

In this film, Paul Rudd is the scene-stealer. Usually the quiet, funny man in flicks like "Knocked Up," Rudd is the only reason for rare smiles during the film. He has quite a few one-liners that are sure to please and has the same carefree demeanor he has taken in every other movie (which isn't very convincing of a man who is pining for his dead fiance). Any Paul Rudd fan should stay far, far away from this movie in hopes of keeping him and his career in a positive light.

The actors are nothing to rave about, and here's another thing to bring everyone down: the movie is 95 minutes. That sounds like a reasonably long movie: under two hours but not foolishly short. But just ten minutes are enough to let the audience know that the next 80-plus minutes are going to be difficult. Expect people in the vicinity to get antsy; heck, expect some of them to get up and leave. Just don't go in with expectations for everyone to enjoy the show.

Here's an idea: take that money that was supposed to be for a ticket to "Over Her Dead Body" and put it towards something that could actually bring happiness and satisfaction. Save up for a new pair of shoes, some new clothes or put it in a college fund. It doesn't matter what happens to that money as long as it does not go towards the discontent that "Over Her Dead Body" will bring.

"Over Her Dead Body" is rated PG-13 for sexual content and language. Now playing everywhere.

Kate Harter. Kate is a seeeeennioorrrrrrrr More »

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