Erotic thriller delivers contrived melodrama and lazy clichés
UNFORGETTABLE (Denise Di Novi). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (April 21). See listing. Rating: N
What do a jilted ex, a nubile new lover, revenge, murder, mystery and steamy sex have in common? Why, cheesy erotic thrillers of course! Unforgettable is the latest entry in this cornball genre and every note is played with so much unearned sincerity that the drama frequently transforms into accidental comedy.
Rosario Dawson plays the new fiancée. Katherine Heigl is the jilted ex-wife. Geoff Stults sulks as the man in the middle. Online identity theft is the means of revenge, presented as hilariously easy to achieve through a few clicks on a website.
Genuinely serious issues like spousal abuse and mental illness are treated as genre tropes and first-time feature director Denise Di Novi (veteran producer of Tim Burton and others) layers in gratingly obvious symbolism to attempt to give this schlock an arty veneer.
Had it been executed with irony, style or wit, there might have been some trashy fun along the lines of a vintage Brian De Palma or Paul Verhoeven thriller. Sadly, there’s none of that here, just contrived melodrama and lazy clichés.
That Dawson’s reputation somehow survives the ordeal is a testament to her talents, even if Unforgettable is yet another paycheck project unworthy of her effort.