Did you hear? The new chick flick Over Her Dead Body opens today, starring Eva Longoria — sorry — Eva Longoria Parker, Lake Bell and Paul Rudd. In it, Kate (Longoria Parker), a super shrew, dies in a freak accident on the day of her wedding. After mourning her death for the better part of a year, her fiance, a sensitive veterinarian named Henry, gets involved with a psychic named Ashley (Lake Bell), which pisses off Kate so much that she begins to sabotage the relationship with all kinds of otherworldly hijinks. Does Kate have a ghost of a chance in driving Ashley and Henry apart? You probably already know the answer, as well as the tired third-act plot twists, fart jokes, and lifeless slapstick humor also contained within. The movie, in fact, is dead on arrival, and let us tell you: the critics didn't hesitate in ripping its carcass to bits. An elegy for the dearly departed, after the jump.
There's a great deal of forced naturalism in "Over Her Dead Body" that has the standard-issue, aren't-we-quirky-but-not-too-quirky-for-cable air of premeditated spontaneity. Except for Bell. She really is a natural, or as natural as one can be in a movie in which a dead fiancee returns to demolish her dear, near-widower's love life. [...] None of it makes sense — logically, emotionally or dramatically.
—John Anderson, Washington Post
Slapstick, character writing and situations are generic at best. There's one bright idea — involving a parrot — but it's canceled out by the elaboration of a bad one that tries to put a cute (but condescending) twist on Jason Biggs' role as Ashley's (yawn) funny gay best friend.
—Dennis Harvey, Variety
Despite the film's oversimplified pop-psych premise, the idea of the difficulty of letting go is a resonant one. But its resonance is limited here by the thinly conceived characters and the fact that we never get a glimpse of what passive Henry and shrill Kate liked, let alone loved, about each other. Vaguely quirky and down-to-earth, Ashley exists mainly as a contrast to Kate's control freak. Slapstick and when-in-doubt fart jokes don't buoy the proceedings.
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
The cast members are talented and game, but they struggle with some borderline-incompetent direction and a series of humorous situations that are less than fresh. I mean, sure, it's always hilarious when a beautiful woman is squirted in the chest with mustard, or when Mr. Biggs's arm catches on fire. But an extended bout of flatulence and a dessert-flambéing mishap don't really yield big laughs. For good measure, there's also an elderly priest and an overweight dog.
—A.O. Scott The New York Times
"Over Her Dead Body" may be the worst romantic comedy I've ever seen, although I hesitate to make such a resolute pronouncement about a movie that's so barely even there.
—Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com
Does the premise "her ghost turns up and fights the new romance" make you chuckle? Me, neither. It's the kind of angle that could only seem funny at a pitch meeting. Not only have we been there, done that, we didn't want to go there, do that in the first place.
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
And, for the final nail in the coffin:
Some who see this film may feel that life is no longer worth living if copies of this movie are allowed to stay alive and reproduce like a poop virus. Some may swear off movies forever. This movie has that power. [...] I'm not acting surprised. If a comedy can't find seven or eight funny scenes in its 95-minute length to construct a decent trailer, trouble is just a $10 ticket price away, my friends.
—Capone, Ain't It Cool News