“Over Her Dead Body” – Susan Granger reviews

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Don’t believe the advertising: this is not a romantic comedy. There’s little that’s endearing and the laughs are scarce.

The fantasy begins as shrewish Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) and smirking Henry (Paul Rudd), a veterinarian, are about to get married in sunny Long Beach, California. But hours before the wedding, when a massive ice sculpture of a wingless angel falls and crushes her, the bridezilla is dead. By the time Kate gets her spirit act together in the all-white afterlife, it’s a year later. Once grief-stricken Henry is now attracted to Ashley (Lake Bell), a scatter-brained psychic/caterer who has been hired by Henry’s kooky sister, Chloe (Lindsay Sloane), to convince him he should get over his depression and “move on.” Perhaps start dating again. Jealous Kate doesn’t like this turn of events one little bit and decides to scare Ashley away. To add to the ghostly frivolity, there’s Ashley’s gay catering assistant, Dan (Jason Biggs). Yada, yada.

While Jeff Lowell is credited with writing “John Tucker Must Die,” this is his first attempt at directing – and it shows. His helming is not incompetent but it is inept, and his shamelessly derivative, sit-com script is filled with blandly idiotic, generic, one-dimensional characters and frothy, cinematic clichés, like the climactic rush to the airport with a possessed talking parrot.

Making a miniscule jump from her cloying “Desperate Housewives” character, curvaceous Eva Longoria Parker, who has adopted her NBA star husband’s surname, is a force to be reckoned with. Yet Lake Bell from TV’s “Boston Legal” gamely steals the picture right out from under Parker’s tiny, turned-up nose. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Over Her Dead Body” is a silly, campy, tepid 3. No hearts ‘n’ flowers here.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.