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Over Her Dead Body (PG-13) *

There's something between actors Paul Rudd and Lake Bell.
There's something between actors Paul Rudd and Lake Bell.

By Connie Ogle

It’s not quite true to say that death is preferable to sitting through Over Her Dead Body, but it’s a safe bet that if you struggle through this witless romantic comedy the lure of being six feet under will cross your mind.

The film was written and directed by Jeff Lowell, who is also responsible for the teen revenge comedy John Tucker Must Die. Though not by any stretch of imagination a good movie, John Tucker, with its cute, promiscuous boy-in-a-thong jokes, is not half so lousy as most critics claimed. Compared to this new monstrosity, it seems as charming and sophisticated as Desk Set.

Over Her Dead Body, on the other hand, offers no charm and features the longest, least-funny flatulence joke in modern film history. The film stars Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) as unctuous harpy Kate, who is accidentally killed on her wedding day (though some might say her unhappy end is more karma than bad luck, as she is acting like an obnoxious shrew). Her restless spirit returns to haunt the psychic (Lake Bell) making a play for her former fiance Henry (Paul Rudd, who has the grace to look embarrassed by the entire enterprise, as well he should).

Of all the troubling elements of Over Her Dead Body — and there are many, including a nightmarishly unamusing scene in which Kate floats above the couple and shouts at them as they try to have sex — Rudd may be the most disturbing. What is the crown prince of Apatow comedy (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) doing in such a bland role?

You can’t even feel sorry for Henry, because anyone blind enough to want to marry Kate is clearly delusional and deserving of any misery that comes his way. As for Longoria Parker, she can’t help the fact that Kate is so unlikable — she’s supposed to be, after all — but she certainly doesn’t do her director any favors with her vapid delivery and sitcom-style flouncing.

Jason Biggs (American Pie) also shows up as a gayish caterer, but he can’t ignite any laughs, especially as the butt of some cheap slapstick. The only entertaining part of the screening occurred when the Cloverfield monster attacked lower Manhattan in the next theater, bringing with it explosions, screams and the pleasant hallucination that it could march right into Over Her Dead Body and step up the cadaver count. Now that’s a movie scenario to die for.