Who's In It: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli
The Basics: A 14-year-old girl--raped and murdered by her serial killer neighbor and speaking from her place in a kind of afterlife limbo that looks like The Land of Dairy Queen as designed by Jeff Koons--narrates the story of her own loss as well as that of her slowly dissolving family. Meanwhile, she stays stuck in the "in-between" until her murder can be solved and her loved ones find their peace. Your own peace will come after you walk out, trying hard not to laugh at how crazy-bad it all is.
What's The Deal: I loved bothHeavenly Creatures and the Lord of the Rings movies, but leave it to the modern master of wizard battles to tackle the subject of every parent's worst nightmare and turn it into CGI-driven comedy. If it's not dopey murder victims making coy giggle-commentary while prancing around almost-heaven in a mystical gazebo, it's Susan Sarandon's comic-relief auntie with the bad wig or Stanley Tucci as the obviously creepo neighbor who might as well advertise his services by wearing a T-shirt that says, "I rape and kill kids!" If the sudden near-psychic powers of everyone except the cops doesn't floor you--seriously, even the dog senses what's up--then surely the magic icicle of vengeance will. It could only get more wacky if Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski played all the characters.
Sorry, Wait, There's More: At one point, grief-stricken mom Rachel Weisz, fed up with equally grief-stricken dad Mark Wahlberg (he's become obsessed with hunting down the killer), leaves her surviving traumatized children to go find herself and become a migrant farm worker. I know, you thought "magic icicle of vengeance" was the best thing you were going to read in this review. Later, be on the lookout for Stanley Tucci's Superman-level hearing and strongman powers to kick in, as well as for the movie's big revelatory scene stopping dead in its tracks for a group hug. Those are all great moments. Okay, just go see this movie. And bring a friend who can corroborate what you've just witnessed. It's that awesomely awful, the kind of rotten movie that gets nominated for lots of Academy Awards, or least lots of Golden Globes.
Emerging Unscathed Somehow: Young Saoirse Ronan (the life-wrecking tattletale from Atonement) plays the dead girl like she's in a different film entirely, one that takes her destruction as seriously as it should.