JUST BURIED (Chaz Thorne). 94 minutes. Opens Friday (July 25). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
As black comedies go, Just Buried has a promising plot: a dorky underacheiver unleashes his inner Norman Bates to keep the funeral home he inherited from going out of business.
Unfortunately, the resulting film, from writer-director Chaz Thorne, is far too good-natured and not nearly clever enough to deserve anything more than a quick cremation.
Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby's Danger Darch, the dweeb with the maple leaf tattoo in Knocked Up) is the twitchy nose-bleeder Oliver Whynacht (get it? "Why not?"). His estranged father leaves him the family business in the hopes that he'll make something of himself - never mind that corpses make him grossly uncomfortable.
Enter Lady Macbeth, er, Roberta (Rose Byrne of 28 Weeks Later and TV's Damages), a creepy mortician with a morbid curiosity and questionable morals who encourages homicide in the pursuit of higher profits.
From there everything about Just Buried seems a little too familiar. And the characters, with the exception of Byrne's calculating killer, come off as little more than an accumulation of quirks and tics.