Dave's Rating:

0.5

Posthumous misery.

Who's In It: Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell, Justin Long

The Basics: Husband falls in love with a younger woman. Wife is displeased with this development. Wife, in turn, throws a flower pot at Husband's head, duct-tapes him to the toilet, serenades him on the guitar and bakes him chocolate chip cookies until he realizes that being held prisoner is how devoted women show their commitment. This bathroom-bound cage match occupies nearly the entire running time, so when the bad robber shows up to commit violent acts against both of them you'll be cheering him on.

What's The Deal: As an argument for locking yourself up in a dark room and avoiding all human contact for the rest of your life, this film makes a compelling case. But as a black comedy about the occasionally sinister anti-joy of marriage (one with an extra-creepy twist), it makes you yearn for the more wholesome pleasures of watching Jon & Kate shriek and fight over who gets custody of the Ed Hardy endorsement deal.

Why I Hate The Fact That I Hate This Movie: Adrienne Shelly, the woman who wrote this movie, was brutally murdered a few years ago (in a way that this movie queasily replicates every time Justin Long's intruder smashes Timothy Hutton in the face). Shelly was a cool indie actor, a veteran of Hal Hartley's films from the early '90s and the writer-director of the sweetly moving Waitress. So obviously this movie was director Cheryl Hines's (Shelly's Waitress co-star) labor of love. And that's where I stop being able to make sense of what happened here. Was the script a rough draft nobody felt comfortable upgrading? Did producers pull funding for second takes? Did a lookalike Meg Ryan robot sabotage the shoot in an attempt to make The Women look comparatively better? Whatever the miserable reason, if you admired Shelly you're better off pretending it doesn't exist.

Who's Occasionally Kind Of Funny: Kristen Bell, as the selfish and cruel mistress, has all the good lines. And by "all" I mean approximately three. She actually trumps Meg Ryan's character's disturbing possessiveness with an awful youthful menace. You half expect her to run off with the violent Justin Long character in the end.

And More To Come: According to IMDB.com, another script Shelly worked on before her death is already in development. Somebody please step in and take better care of it than this one.

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