out of Five
Running time: 95
Disappointing comedy that struggles to overcome the combination of unlikeable characters, a poorly judged, largely unfunny script and a distinct lack of chemistry between the leads.
What's it all about?
Essentially an unacknowledged remake of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, Over Her Dead Body stars Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) as Kate, an uptight, high-maintenance bride-to-be who gets crushed to death by an ice-angel on her wedding day. Waking up in limbo, she's too angry to listen to the orientation speech and ends up hanging around her former fiance, Henry (Paul Rudd).
A year later, Henry is still unable to get over Kate's death, so his sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) persuades him to see a pretty psychic named Ashley (Lake Bell) in the hopes that he'll get permission from Kate to move on. However, when Ashley starts to fall for Henry, Kate decides to haunt her, in the mistaken belief that it's her heavenly duty to sabotage their relationship.
Fortunately, Paul Rudd just about rescues this from being completely unwatchable, even though there's zero chemistry between him and Bell. Similarly, there's a sequence of good gags involving a parrot towards the end, but by that time it's a case of too little too late.
The working title for the film was Ghost Bitch, which was highly appropriate, because Kate is an extremely bitchy character and it's hard to feel any sympathy for her. Similarly, Lake Bell does her best and has a certain amount of comic timing but her character's initial deceit means that she's not that likeable either.
The script is extremely poorly judged in places, not least when it comes to a late twist involving Jason Biggs' supposedly gay best friend character. In addition, the jokes are mostly tedious, eventually resorting to fart gags in a desperate (and doomed) attempt to get laughs.
In short, Over Her Dead Body is just about watchable but it never quite works. If you're in the mood for a comedy about a ghost haunting her former partner, then rent the far superior Blithe Spirit instead.