REVIEW: Unforgettable

26 04 2017

For the better part of a decade, Katherine Heigl has struggled to shake off a reputation of being disagreeable. Much of this stems from a 2007 interview about “Knocked Up” where she chided the film’s supposed sexist treatment of female characters. (Inner publicist note: had she just waited and made the comment in retrospect, it’s likely no one would have found it controversial.) But ever since, many in the culture have projected their worst ideas about outspoken women onto her. She often wears the dreaded label of “unlikable.”

After countless attempts to correct the narrative by starring in sunny rom-coms, network television procedurals and a few indies, Heigl finally leans into the bad rap as the villain of “Unforgettable.” In Denise Di Novi’s domestic thriller, she plays Tessa Connover, the eerie ex-wife who torments her former flame’s new dame, Rosario Dawson’s Julia Banks. The film’s twist on the catfight genre is that Julia herself is not purely a victim or object of terror. She’s a survivor of domestic abuse dealing with lingering distress of her own.

Tessa plays manipulative mind games behind a placid exterior, though in Heigl’s hands, it often comes across as wooden. For these films to successfully scare, there needs to be some element of mystery behind the machinations of menace. Tessa is essentially an open book; in Heigl’s defense, the obvious broadcasting of her character’s motivations and actions is also a fault at the script level. But just as she could have spoken up and changed things with “Knocked Up,” Heigl could have added some mystery to her performance to strengthen the film. Tessa is her way of winking at the audience and admitting she knows what they think of her. Little in “Unforgettable” makes a compelling case for why people should change their minds. C+

REVIEW: New Year’s Eve

2 01 2012

What were you doing this new year’s eve?  I hope you were celebrating with those you love or just celebrating in general.  But if you happened to be at the movie theater, I pray that you were nowhere near the egregious load of crap disguised as a movie called “New Year’s Eve.”  If you were one of those looking to get in the holiday spirit, I surmise you walked out not blissful for the year to come but rather disgusted that movies like this are allowed to exist.

Only see the movie for the following reasons:

1. You for some reason like to watch bad actors doing bad acting.  Yes, Katherine Heigl, you should not have spit in Judd Apatow’s face because he actually gave you a multi-dimensional character.  Now, enjoy being stuck in movies like this and “Life As We Know It” for the rest of your life.  Zac Efron … it’s official, your glory days were in the “High School Musical” era.  And in case you need a reminder, many musicians can’t act – looking at you, Ludacris and Jon Bon Jovi.  Oh, and Lea Michele too, who somehow to forgot how to act between “Spring Awakening” and “New Year’s Eve,” picking up how to be a gratingly obnoxious diva.  (Wait, she got that from “Glee!”  Thanks a lot, Ryan Murphy…)

2. You for some reason like to watch good actors doing bad acting.  Can you count the Oscar wins and nominations on this poster?  13 Oscar nominations and 5 wins.  While we can’t get the Academy to reclaim the statues (and indeed they shouldn’t), we as a public can take away their credibility and prestige.  I just don’t understand why Robert DeNiro can’t seem to stop the out-of-control downward spiral that is his career.  Strangely enough, the most unbearable members of the cast is a horserace between two-time Oscar champion Hilary Swank and three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer.  Any good will for a career comeback after “Hairspray” just went down the drain.

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REVIEW: Life As We Know It

27 06 2011

It took me four days to finish the crummy dram-rom-com “Life As We Know It.”  Translation: I fell asleep watching it not once, not twice, but THREE times.  So not only is it bad, but it’s agonizingly boring.  Give me corny and derivative before boring because at least those movies are bearable.

The movie isn’t even worth me doing a Wikipedia search to be reminded of the plot and the characters.  From what I can remember, it revolves around the misadventures of Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel trying to take care of a baby, and they are totally incapable of doing so.  They aren’t married; they aren’t even together – it was some sort of cruel joke in the will of their mutual friends.  It’s a good thing they get to play repulsion most of the time because Heigl and Duhamel have about as much chemistry as a toilet seat and a pair of butt cheeks.

So if there’s no romance in this dram-rom-com, there must be some drama and comedy, right?  If you count sappy melodrama that soap opera actors could do better than Heigl and Duhamel, then sure, there’s drama.  And if you count Katherine Heigl having a big poop on her face, then there’s a minuscule shred of comedy.  But hey, speaking of poop, have you heard of “Life As We Know It?”  D / 

REVIEW: The Ugly Truth

30 07 2009

I’ll spare you the bad puns about the ugly truth about this movie. What I will say about “The Ugly Truth” is that at face value, it is a movie so predictable that it is almost painful. You know the formula: guy and girl who are complete opposites meet, they bicker and fight, they reluctantly interact, one of them makes a friendly gesture and things change, and then they fall in love (but usually make love before they realize that). While the movie sticks to this formula like white on rice, it does manage to offer up some gut-wrenching laughs.

In one corner, we have Abby (Katherine Heigl, television’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Knocked Up”), the femnist control freak with her checklist of characteristics that any prospective date has to meet. She dreams of the perfect guy who will respect her for the hard-working woman that she is, but TV personality Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler, “300”) sees things through a different lens. He is a realist, which makes him come off as chauvinistic, who sees men for the sex-crazy pigs that they really are. They butt heads instantly, and much to Abby’s dismay, he is brought in as a ratings ploy on the show that she produces. She eventually confides in Mike to help solve her drought with men, and he turns her into the girl of every man’s dreams…er, fantasies. Only then do the hilarious antics really start as prim and proper Abby slowly takes on some of Mike’s gruff tendencies. Naturally, Abby’s sweetness rubs off on Mike slowly, but when the film delves into the depths of his heart, it becomes corny and clichéd.

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