May 16, 2008
Review - " Over Her Dead Body " (on DVD) - By Roland Hansen
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Over Her Dead Body
Written and Directed by Jeff Lowell
Starring: Eva Longoria, Paul Rudd, lake Bell, Jason Biggs, Lindsay Sloane,
Devastated when his fiancée Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) is killed on their
wedding day, Henry (Paul Rudd) reluctantly agrees to consult a psychic named
Ashley (Lake Bell) at the urging of his sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane). Despite his
skepticism over her psychic abilities, Henry finds himself falling hard for Ashley,
and vice versa. But there is a big snag. Ashley is being haunted by Kate’s ghost,
who considers it her heavenly duty to break up Henry and Ashley's fledgling
romance, if it is the last thing she does on this earthly plane.
This movie is about as cliché as the title. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was
bad, just cliché. I have to admit that it takes a lot for me not to like a movie at all.
Where most critics trash most movies, I’m the opposite; I give all movies the
benefit of the doubt. The way I see it, I go to the movies to be entertained and if
the movie does just enough to entertain me, well then the movie wasn't that bad.
Such is the case with this one. To use an expression this is one of those movies
that you have to take at face value. What you see is what you get. It’s as good
as you would expect it to be, no more no less. Overall the movie was cute. Some
parts were lame and corny while others were fresh and very funny. I did laugh
out loud a few times, Jason Biggs has the funniest comic moments, at times
almost slapstick. If you decide to see this film, be sure to not have high expectations.
Rudd has an easy charm and sharp comic timing that play best in such ribald comedies as “Knocked Up”, “The Oh in Ohio”
and “Walk Hard.” While “Dead” is a much more straight-ahead romantic comedy and is neither as offbeat nor as funny as
those previous films, his presence improves this film considerably. And his chemistry with co-star Bell, who plays a psychic
named Ashley, enlivens what might have been a dully predictable tale of a vengeful scheming ex.
The character development is bland at best. There is not a whole lot of background given about any of them, especially the
relationship between Kate and Henry, however meaningful it might have been. In fact Henry is such a nice guy you wonder
how he ever got involved with a controlling bitch like Kate in the first place. This would have helped with the story
development in regards to a better understanding of what’s driving Kate’s determination to disrupt the new relationship
between Henry and Ashley. The characters are mostly presented as "matter-of-fact" with focus on the story at hand. The
actors, on the other hand, helped make the film livelier. Overall Eva isn't really a particularly good actress but she does a
decent job as an obsessive, control freak. She’s also very good at looking good. Speaking of looking good, Lake Bell as
Ashley was truly a breath of fresh air, performance as well as looks. Being that she is not a popular face on the big screen,
I was pleasantly surprised and can sense that we will be seeing a lot more of her. (And she’s got eyes that you can lose
yourself in!) When it comes to this kind of movie, you can always count on Paul Rudd to give a really good performance
and there’s no exception here.
There's a forced complication involving the dead woman's diary and a bit of silly subterfuge, but most of the comedy
centers on Kate coming back to Earth to haunt Ashley in creative ways. Kate may not be able to have Henry for herself, but
she doesn't want anyone else to.
Even though the script at times was right on, and at other times it wasn’t, the overall humor was pretty good. There was
some excellent use of physical humor too. Starting with the "departure from the wedding" by Kate, there were plenty of
hilarious situations and moments of classic humor that just don’t get old. For
a movie of this genre, the special effects were pretty decent, not
spectacular but decent. When I think of other movies that this one reminds
me of, the first one that comes to mind is “Just Like Heaven”. If you've seen
that one and liked it, there is a good chance you will like this one even
though “Just Like Heaven” was a better movie with stronger performances.
“Heaven “ is a lot more dramatic where this movie is more comical and light-
Though the tale may fall short on imagination, the principal actors make
“Over Her Dead Body” livelier than one would expect.
As you may have guessed you will have to walk out at the end of "Over Her