Who doesn’t like trainwrecks?
Synopsis: Tessa Connover is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David, becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks —not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter, Lily. Trying to settle into her new life, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare. (Warner Bros)
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, and Geoff Stults
Writers: Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson
Director: Denise Di Novi
Running Time: 100mins
In terms of revenge films, there was absolutely nothing new about this one as the story was pretty much exactly the same as some other recent revenge/obsession films such as When the Bough Breaks, The Perfect Guy, and The Boy Next Door (also my worst film of 2015). The guilty party this time was a woman named Tessa Connover (Heigl). She was jealous of her ex-husband David’s (Stults) new wife Julia (Dawson) and the role she was playing in his and her daughter Lily’s (Isabella Kai Rice) life. Tessa then made it her life’s mission to make Julia’s life a living nightmare.
As mentioned the film was very derivative so nothing should come as much of a surprise in terms of storytelling, in fact the trailers give away most of the film. In reality, the reason most will watch this is because of its trainwreck nature (at least that’s why I watched it). This film checked all the boxes in that regard. The story was overly melodramatic, the cliche suspenseful score was overbearing, and the dialogue was cheesy. It simply had all the makings of a Lifetime TV movie but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In addition to the generic and also contrived story, there was a lot going on but the story suffered from a lack of focus which affected the pacing. Julia had a troubled past that she took with her, playing little to no part in the plot and making her story redundant. Her past was probably meant to add context, however, the story failed to explore it enough for it to matter. Although all the characters were cliches, Julia was the most compelling as she felt the most real. The Julia-Tessa relationship lacked tension or suspense as it was too much of a slow burn and the film was more concerned about redeeming Julia than playing up the drama.
Continuing with the film’s trashy nature, the acting followed suit. It’s not that it was necessarily good or bad, it just fit. Dawson was okay, going through the paces in a not particularly memorable role. Heigl was bad but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as but she still managed to make Tessa somewhat entertaining to watch. The combination of the cheesy dialogue and her overacting allowed her to steal many scenes for unintentional reasons. Stults was okay but his character was mostly relegated to the background in order for Dawson and Heigl to really go at it.
Overall, this was not a good film, falling under the “so bad it’s good” category, working as more of a mediocre TV movie than anything and featuring a memorable performance by Heigl for the wrong reasons.
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