Starring: Eva Longoria Parker, Paul Rudd, Lake Bell
Directed by: Jeff Lowell (debut)
Written by: Jeff Lowell (“John Tucker Must Die”)
Remember the scene in 1990’s “Ghost” where Patrick Swayze keeps Whoopi Goldberg from going to sleep by singing “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” repeatedly while she tosses and turns in bed? Take that scene and stretch it over 95 minutes and you have yourself “Over Her Dead Body.” It’s just as annoying but not nearly as funny.
Taking a break from “Desperate Housewives,” Eva Longoria Parker (yes, she’s added Tony’s name to her moniker) stars as Kate, a blushing bride-to-be who is crushed to death by an ice sculpture on her wedding day.
Landing in some sort of limbo waiting room after she dies, Kate can’t shut her mouth long enough to get instructions from an angel as to what she has to do next. She decides for herself that her calling in the after-life is to protect her ex-fiancé Henry (Rudd) at all costs.
In solitude for the last year, Henry has no will to get over the tragedy despite his the constant – and mostly annoying – support from his sister Chole (Lindsay Slone), who wants him to find happiness again. To help out, she drags him to Ashley (Bell), a caterer and part-time psychic who hopes to communicate with Kate from the beyond and get her to give Henry her blessing to move on with his life.
Henry, of course, is unconvinced that Ashley can do anything for him. What he doesn’t know, however, is that his sister has given Ashley one of Kate’s old diaries, so she can con Henry into thinking she knows more about Kate than she really does. The plan backfires when Ashley and Henry begin to fall in love and, in turn, stir up jealous feelings from his corpse bride. Thinking she is there to save Henry from heartbreak, Kate decides to destroy his relationship with Ashley by dipping into her ghostly bag of tiresome tricks.
Playing like a supernatural novela, “Dead Body” is dead on arrival. Director/writer Jeff Lowell, who was responsible for the equally inferior “John Tucker Must Die” has no idea how to get passed the predictability of the story and dry performances by Longoria Parker and Bell. Their rivalry never becomes more than the equivalent of a girl-on-girl hair-pulling session in a middle school locker room.
Egos may be bruised a little with the critical potshots “Dead Body” will soon get, but fear not for Longoria Parker. If she can manage to stop drifting away from Wisteria Lane, maybe she can continue to hide the fact that her acting skills will never amount to more than catty antics.