OVER HER DEAD BODY Directed by Jeff Lowell. 90 minutes. Opens Friday (February 1). Rating: N
After a mildly promising start, Over Her Dead Body crumbles rapidly into long stretches of tedium broken by occasional small laughs.
As the woman who dies on her wedding day and comes back to scare off the psychic (Lake Bell) who’s dating her would-have-been husband (Paul Rudd), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) is too busy being twinkly-eyed cute to portray the superbitch she’s supposed to be. It’s not entirely her fault: the script runs through its uninspired bag of ghostly tricks in no time, until we’re reduced to watching Rudd channel Longoria’s long phantom fart, whose only payoff is Bell’s reaction.
Bell, or more precisely, Bell’s face, is the best thing in the movie. Strong features and a prominent nose make her highly watchable. She and Rudd have a little chemistry, but neither displays much talent for comedy beyond the standard sitcom mugging.
Writer/director Jeff Lowell likewise has no gift for comedy. His few gags pay off feebly at best, and there’s a monotonous rhythm to his repertoire of master shot, two-shot and alternating close-ups. It kills his stars’ chemistry, it kills the pace, and it kills any hope of mounting excitement.It would kill the comedy, too, but that’s already dead.