STUDIO: DreamWorks
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 95 Minutes
Feature Commentary
Making of…
Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending
Blooper Reel
Meet the Cast Featurette

The Pitch

It’s Sleeping Beauty meets City of Angels, but without most of the charm or endearing qualities of either.

The Humans

Reese Whitherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Dina Waters, Jon Heder, Donal Logue

The Nutshell

Elizabeth (Whitherspoon) is a successful, talented doctor. She’s also a workaholic. One night after a 26-hour shift at the hospital, Elizabeth has a car accident. Enter David (Ruffalo), a young widower whoe moves into Elizabeth’s newly vacant apartment and promptly begins getting visits from the dead Elizabeth. But…is she really dead?

It’s never as cool as the first time you saw it.

The Lowdown

If I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be generic. If I had to do it in two, the next would be cliché. And it’s surprising and a little disappointing that those are the two words that immediately come to mind, what with the relative uniqueness of the premise. See, Elizabeth isn’t really dead, but rather in a coma and the film is essentially a major out-of-body experience. There’s a nifty little subtext involving a woman who doesn’t have a chance to actually live her life until she’s technically dead. She sees what she’s been missing and learns how important it is to nurture her spirit, that there’s more to life than a job (however important her job may be).

And that’s what leads to the disappointment as I see this movie as a major lost opportunity. Every story device has been done to death and some of the more overused elements are thrown in even when it doesn’t make sense to have them there. We’ve seen someone interact with an invisible person in public before. We know no one else can see the invisible person, and yeah, it’s supposed to be funny when an on-looker sees someone essentially talking to themselves but if you’re going to do that, do something new with it. Okay that may not be an entirely fair statement as that’s precisely what they did in one scene. A man almost chokes to death in a restaurant and needs a very minor surgical procedure to save him. Elizabeth talks David through the process. Ruffalo’s timing and delivery and pseudo-interaction with Reese is actually pretty funny and the only bright spot in the film. It makes me wonder why the rest of the movie couldn’t be like that.

Unbreakable Rule of the Romantic Comedy # 38: At some point, your main couple HAS to share a park bench.

Instead what we have are the standard cast of characters: Ruffalo’s best friend and therapist (Donal Logue) who’s convinced he’s making it up and crazy; Elizabeth’s sister Abby (Dina Waters), who has to make the climactic decision of whether or not to pull the plug (and also gets a brief shining moment when she meets David and he confesses his situation); the slew of Elizabeth’s neighbors who never knew her because she was such a workaholic and subsequently formed negative and inaccurate opinions of her ("she’s like the Cat Lady, only without any cats") and one of these neighbors actually becomes a sort of love interest for David, and it seems like her only purpose is to pose some sort of competition for Elizabeth so we can see her get jealous, as if we needed re-enforcing that there was a relationship brewing between our two leads. Finally we have our psychic, played by the newest inductee to Typecasting Hell, Jon Heder. You’ll hear the Napoleon voice is in full effect, but to be fair, it’s not really Napoleon’s voice, as that is Heder’s actual speaking voice. Jon does a decent job with his role, and he was able to deliver some pretty deep and thoughtful dialogue that seemed natural. They had him smile a lot in thos movie, which is something you didn’t see in Napoleon Dynamite and that’s a good thing. He does seem like a charming guy with some natural chops and hopefully he’ll be able to use that role to help him blossom, rather than letting it define him.

Nothing says "Home Sweet Home" like a pair of marble posteriors.

At the end of it all I didn’t need to see this film as it did absolutely nothing for me. I would use the target audience reasoning, but I like a good romantic comedy as much as the next chick. But that’s the key word I guess – good. My wife liked it, so that’s something and I’m sure a lot of other people liked it as well. However, in my opinion it’s barely worth a rental.

The Package

The artwork is bad. Our two leads superimposed over the San Francisco Skyline. It looks like a painting rather than a photo as it has the flat, dull, anti-sheen to it. Reese looks a little too made-up and the dude on the front cover barely has a resemblance to Mark Ruffalo. No good. No good at all. Hell, just given the title of the movie a million other more heavenly design ideas come to mind and then considering the premise of the flick…well, we’ll just say it all goes back to the theme of Lost Opportunity that is prevalent throughout this project.

Well, it’s not my first choice for a centerpiece, but hey – to each his own.

Feature-wise there’s some decent stuff. The blooper reel is worth it just for Dina Waters’ little section (ya know I think I have a crush on her and only just now realized it), the deleted scenes were better off deleted, the alternate ending had to have been a joke and hopefully was never even considered as an actual ending, otherwise someone is insane, the making of was more of a "Let’s Kiss all the ass we can" as opposed to a real "Behind the Scenes" featurette, as was the Meet the Cast Section.

There is a commentary, and honestly I tried to watch it, but Waters’ voice and that stammer of his just really got on my nerves early on and I couldn’t do it. If you really wanna know about what it said then rent it, or hell, send me a SASE and I’ll send you my copy. No, not really, my wife wouldn’t appreciate that. So, because of the restaurant scene, Dina Waters, and finally seeing Napoleon Dynamite smile…

5.0 out of 10