STUDIO: Magnolia Home Entertainment
MSRP: $14.98
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

  • Trailers
  • Making Of Serious Moonlight
  • HDNET: A Look at Serious Moonlight
  • Commentary with the Director and Producers

The Pitch

In a lovely summer lake house, a distressed wife confines her unfaithful husband to a toilet in order to rekindle their love.

The Humans

Meg Ryan, Tim Hutton, Kristen Bell, Justin Long. Directed by Cheryl Hines from a script by Adrienne Shelly

The Nutshell

Serious Moonlight stars Meg Ryan and Tim Hutton (no more Timothy, I guess) as an old married couple who are not as happy as they once were. Meg plays Louise, a lawyer heading to the family lake house to surprise her husband Ian, played by Hutton. It’s at this same time that Ian is writing a note to his wife that he is leaving her, and to top it off he has prepared the lake house for a rendezvous with his current lover Sara, played by Kristin Bell.

When Ian is surprised to find his wife show up, he decides to confront the issue right then and there. After the usual shock and arguments, Ian decides to leave the house to meet Sara. As he leaves, Louise does her best impression of Randy Johnson and beans him with a tossed plant. He awakens to find himself duct taped to the toilet. The plan: Louise wants to remind/coerce/brainwash her husband into loving her again. A series of arguments ensue, and a twist in the action arrives when an opportunistic Todd, played by Justin Long, shows up and holds everyone hostage as he and his friends party and ransack the house.

Now for sale at Walmart: The new Do-It-Yourself Human Centipede (Toilet Sequence) Kit !
Amaze your friends while you play the part of Katsuro. Feed her!

The Lowdown

Serious Moonlight was produced from a script by Adrienne Shelly, the actress and screenwriter who was tragically murdered in her apartment in 2006. Shelly had previously written Waitress, a very well received film starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) was good friends with Shelly, and she directs this as her first feature film.

This film is a nice attempt at representing a very common movie cliché from a different perspective. Stories of married couples falling out of love should be a sad situation. The romantic idea that when two people commit to a marriage that it should be forever is a topic that gets beat down everyday. For all the talk about approving marriage for everyone, there is not a lot of talk on how to improve marriage for everyone. The story of Serious Moonlight is a valid attempt at invoking some comedy into the issue, and trying to show an extreme way to attack the problem of marital failure.

Somebody get that Three Men and a Baby ghost outta here!

Because this film was written and directed by women, it has a definite female-centric slant. Meg Ryan’s character, though slightly off-her-rocker, has the audiences on her side. Hutton is the big jerk, and although he may have a valid argument about his wife’s absence from their marriage due to her career, he nonetheless has been the cheater in this situation. And he isn’t afraid to tell her everything once it all comes out. So the premise, though far-fetched, seems fair from the wife’s point of view.

There are a few laughs, as we see the outrageous situation that is unfolding could never really work. That’s when the twist is introduced. Ian and Louise end up bound together in the bathroom. Although the threat of home invasion and the coming together of the two of them during a crisis could convincingly bring two people closer together, it still takes quite a leap to believe it. And when Justin Long is beating the shit out of Hutton and being a real dick, it’s hard to laugh.

That’s not why they call it a push-up bra, dude!

Ultimately, this is a run of the mill comedy that has a distinctive take on an old story. It feels quite like a stage play. The location mainly takes place in the upstairs bathroom, so it has a close, confined feel that works well for the hostage-type situation that is being dealt with. There are some good ideas here, and with a little twist at the end, it wraps the story together well. Does Louise actually change her husbands mind by putting him in this crisis situation? It’s a little loose, but it works, barely.

I hate to bring this up, but I feel it needs to be mentioned. One of the things that drew me out of Serious Moonlight is Meg Ryan’s lips. For someone so spunky, comedic, and radiant back in the day, the peculiar look she has now draws too much attention to her lips and not to her performance. At times I was more focused on them instead of the words coming out of them. Meg Ryan is still an pleasant actress to watch, but the reliance on these cosmetic procedures seems to be a hindrance more than a help. I think what happens is that after the various procedures are done, they see themselves in a mirror and pose, and it looks acceptable. But that’s just a static image, like a photograph from the proper angle. When seen in motion, it doesn’t look right. It looks unnatural, and it draws the viewer out of the picture.

Wait ’til they get a load of me.

The Package

Serious Moonlight has the standard special features you would find on any other DVD. They are becoming such the norm that you can hardly call them SPECIAL anymore. There is an audio commentary with Cheryl Hines, producers Michael Roiff and Andy Ostroy (Adrienne Shelly’s husband). You get the HDNET movies extended commercial, as well as a short Making Of documentary. All pretty basic when it comes to special features.

6 out of 10