Over Her Dead Body [PG-13]
Today, when you wake, I want you to go to the window. Feel the morning’s bristle of sunshine. Take in the breeze – is that the smell of the ocean? – wafting sensuously ever in. You’re a household name. Your husband’s a star. Take it all in. Remember this moment.
In 15 years, look back rightly at these days as the best of your life. Keep in mind that big screen success was never really that important, or that destined. Many television stars like you, Ms. Longoria, have failed to make the transition. You can always follow Heather Locklear on the seven-year sitcom treadmill with your head held high. There’s no shame in it. We are kind people. We forgive. And we expect you to eat. I don’t think this surprises you, and there’s no shame in saying.
But I do try to say this kindly, with the sweetest poison. When “Desperate Housewives” suffers its final affair, the silver screen doesn’t await you. It’s true, Over Her Dead Body is not the worst we’ve seen of a television star stumbling onto the wide screen. This is no Teen Wolf. Yet it also lacks that weird, guilty spark that makes you watch Teen Wolf on cable at midnight. It’s simply a film as dead as the body its title describes. When you momentarily appear to disappear, the theater sees it as a mutual gift – for the audience, the film, and especially your own sake.
Of course, this isn’t all your doing. You didn’t write the script. Nor make your dearly departed fiancée a one-note shrew, an obnoxious ghost butting in on her living fiance’s dating life. You didn’t write the dialogue or blandly compose the shots. Nor did you perform a pratfall so unskillful that we’re lucky the camera caught it, if only as a cautionary example for posterity. (That would be Lake Bell, the psychic love interest you haunt out of spite). Indeed you participate passively in your own demise.
(Nor do I suspect you cast Paul Rudd, the movie’s lone saving grace.)
Could you play a role at more than one speed, with more depth than just “nagging shrew” or “helpful female lead?” You’ve yet to show me. I felt sorry for you as the young FBI woman in The Sentinel. The one with Kiefer Sutherland foiling a treacherous assassination plot by fiendish Canadians. By the time, they made you say “Copy that” into a walkie-talkie, I must admit to just wanting to hug your pain away. In Over Her Dead Body, with its emphatic dedication to the brainless, I’m sorry, but I never even got to a sympathetic hug stage.
I could be wrong about this. For every Bruce Willis, there’s a Blind Date. And a Die Hard could be right around the burning building. I hope that it’s true. I wish nobody less than success. But if it doesn’t come, I hope you don’t take it too hard. Enjoy this time.