Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Over Her Dead Body

Illustration for article titled Over Her Dead Body

It's said that opposites attract, but for the brief period they're onscreen together in the dire comedy Over Her Dead Body, Eva Longoria Parker and Paul Rudd are one of the more bizarrely mismatched couples in recent memory. With her scarily toned features and unnatural bronze skin, Longoria Parker looks like the glazed centerpiece of a Christmas feast, especially given her role as a Bridezilla whose bossy imperiousness probably isn't limited to planning the perfect wedding day. Rudd, for his part, has the don't-give-a-shit attitude that's become his stock in trade, a persona likely aided by how little he appears to care about this movie. When Longoria Parker is crushed to death by an ice angel on their wedding day, the action fortunately skips ahead a year, since asking Rudd to reveal the slightest hint of authentic grief would be asking way too much. There are loves so powerful that they transcend mortality, and then there's this one.

Body's sitcom-ready high-concept premise turns Longoria Parker into a controlling, vengeful ghost. A year later, Rudd's sister (Lindsay Sloane), in a desperate effort to get him to move on and find someone else, sets him up with sexy psychic Lake Bell, presuming that she'll be able to communicate with Longoria Parker and get the go-ahead for Rudd to re-enter the singles pool. Bell succeeds, but Longoria Parker isn't ready to see her ex-fiancé date again, and she gets particularly upset when Bell takes a romantic interest in him. Though she can't appear in the flesh, Longoria Parker does everything in her power to sabotage the relationship from beyond the grave.

Writer-director Jeff Lowell (John Tucker Must Die) could have gone many different ways with this idea—the screwball comedy of Heaven Can Wait, say, or even the wistful, unabashed romanticism of Ghost—but he takes the low road more often than not. In the inevitable wacky sex scene, for example, Longoria Parker tries to spoil the mood by making it sound to Bell like Rudd is gassier than the Goodyear Blimp; the farting noises go on for what seems like a full minute. And yet Rudd keeps pulling the film out of the abyss with his hilarious shrug of a performance, sprinkling funny one-liners whenever he gets the opportunity, and looking adorably nonplussed the rest of the time. He seems vaguely embarrassed to be in the movie, yet unwilling to phone it in entirely. It's a lesson in how to make the most of a bad situation.