x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Over Her Dead Body

Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria Parker gets top billing in this mediocre comedy.

Lake Bell plays an amateur psychic in <i>Over Her Dead Body</i>.
Lake Bell plays an amateur psychic in Over Her Dead Body.

Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria Parker gets top billing in this mediocre comedy, playing Kate, a bride-not-to-be who is crushed by a toppling ice sculpture minutes before her wedding. Don't worry. Eva isn't gone for long, though her subsequent appearances are fleeting. Sent back to earth to sort out some unfinished business, she misconstrues the object of her mission. Instead of helping her fiancé (Rudd) get over his loss, she decides to "protect" him. In particular, she does everything in her power to see that he doesn't fall for Ashley (Bell), an amateur psychic who foolishly fakes a reading to cheer him up.

There is a decent lineage for this kind of movie, including Ghost, Always, Topper and Blithe Spirit. Unfortunately Jeff Lowell is no Noel Coward. To mess with her rival, Kate keeps her awake by telling her about all the pets she had in her life. Then she moves on to her favourite colors and numbers. Sure, it's supposed to be banal. But isn't it also meant to be funny? Later, she's reduced to faking fart noises and humming in a bid to disrupt the couples' love-making.

With ELP off-screen for long stretches and the usually reliable Paul Rudd phoning this one in, the onus falls on newcomer Bell, a lippy redhead who pratfalls with the grim determination of someone who figures this might be her one shot, and she's going to give it her all no matter how bad it gets.