"'Til death do us part" rarely works in Hollywood, where screenwriters bring soul mates back as actual souls to haunt the loved ones they've recently departed.
The latest spirit disturbed for the good of a joke is Kate (Eva Longoria Parker
), the classic "Bridezilla" who bites the dust on her wedding day. Kate is crushed by an ice-sculpted angel, a gruesome death that leads to one of several sharp gags when Kate ends up in heavenly Limbo. Blocked from entering the afterlife, Kate must return to Earth -- she assumes -- to protect her fiancé Henry (Paul Rudd
) from any advancing love interests. But that's only half true, much to Kate's chagrin. Article continues below
Writer-director Jeff Lowell
's easy crowd pleaser manages a twist when Henry's concerned sister, Chloe (Lindsay Sloane
), asks part-time psychic and full-time caterer Ashley (Lake Bell
) for a favor. Chloe gives Ash Kate’s diary, essentially begging the medium to fake contact with the late Kate so that Henry will climb back into the dating saddle. To no one's surprise, Henry falls for Ashley. Yet to Ashley's surprise, she starts to be haunted by Kate.
You don't have to believe in ghosts to laugh at Over Her Dead Body, mainly because the cast wholeheartedly accepts the silly concept and rolls with the script's goofy curves. This isn't rocket science, though it is a scientifically constructed, formulaic comedy. Timing and delivery always hammer home decent lines, making moderate jokes sound better. The Dead Body cast is on point. They exhibit strong, conversational chemistry, and rarely pause long enough to let a stupid little thing like rationality derail their fun. Longoria makes petulant look adorable, while Bell serves as the glue that holds the oddball pieces together.
There's no formula in place when actors with television backgrounds such as Longoria and Bell leap to the big screen. For every Katherine Heigl
, there's a Kirstie Alley. But good scripts provide nice platforms on which to land, and these versatile leading ladies chose a decent one.
Dead Body isn't a cliché-free zone. Jason Biggs
flops and prattles as Ashley's gay best friend who has his own secrets to hide. And Lowell isn't exactly sure when to end this charade. That said, I give him credit for conjuring an original means to deliver his predictable conclusion: It involves a parrot, and like the rest of the movie, it's silly in a memorable way.