Making the Grades
Romances with dead characters are often used to give the person who has departed this life one last chance to communicate with their grieving lover. In this case, the motivation for Kate's (Eva Longoria Parker) determination to linger a little longer isn't nearly so noble. After being crushed by an ice sculpture on the morning of her wedding day, she simply wants to make sure her once-fiance Henry (Paul Rudd) doesn't take up with another woman.
Her concerns are ill founded (and account for the first of many flaws in this film), as Henry proves to be the epitome of a heartbroken bachelor and constantly mourns the loss of his rather obnoxious bride-to-be. Still desperately wanting to feel Kate's presence over a year later, the sad veterinarian takes his sister Chloe's (Lindsay Sloane) advice to talk with her psychic friend Ashley (Lake Bell).
Unfortunately Ashley has a difficult time focusing on her profession while gazing into Henry's eyes. Because the distraction makes it difficult for her to reach his long lost love, the appointment comes to a quick close. Yet Chloe is convinced Ashley can help her brother. She just needs a little assistance -- in the form of a diary written by Kate that chronicles their entire relationship. The illicit information quells Henry's skepticism and allows him to believe Ashley is really what she claims.
But with each passing session, Ashley's attraction toward her client increases, as does Kate's anger. Unwilling to keep her spirit under wraps any longer, the groveling ghost reveals herself to the meddling medium and gives her strict instructions to stay away from her man. Initially astonished and fearful at seeing Kate hanging out in her apartment, the novelty of the experience turns into an all-out lover's triangle with both women fighting to claim Henry's heart.
For the phantom lover premise to work well there needs to be an emotionally engaging reason for us to believe the metaphysical chasm between life and death can be bridged. Unfortunately, that's not evident in this script. Kate's unlikable character leaves us more inclined to cheer her untimely passing and her persistence leaves us asking the obvious question: What is the spirit of Kate planning to do with a mortal Henry -- especially when she can't even communicate with him?
Along with artistic problems, sexual content will also be a contributing factor in deciding if this film is worth your teen's time and money. The ongoing innuendo peaks when Ashley's determination to show Kate how she can please Henry physically results in an awkwardly-constructed scene of passion full of verbal foreplay. Language includes a handful of moderate profanities, frequent mild expletives and terms of deity. Those sensitive toward spiritual representations of ghosts, levitation and communicating with the dead may also take issue with this movie, although Ashley does turn to her Catholic priest for help in ridding her apartment of Kate's grave presence.
Playing more like a made-for-TV movie than something you would pay money to see, it's a good bet this vaporous romance won't stand a ghost of a chance at the box office.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Over Her Dead Body.
What creative license does a ghost character provide to a writer of a movie like this? What can this type of character do that mortal people cannot?