Thriller proves to be for­get­table

The Observer (Sarnia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS KNIGHT ck­night@postmedia.com twit­ter.com/chrisknight­film

Un­for­get­table

(out of 5) Di­rec­tor: Denise Di Novi Star­ring: Rosario Daw­son, Kather­ine Heigl, Ge­off Stults, Is­abella Kai Rice Run­ning time: 1 hour 40 min­utes

Un­for­get­table is one of those prob­lem­atic Kather­ine Heigl movie ti­tles, like Life As We Know It — is it a sci­ence doc­u­men­tary? — or One For the Money, which sug­gests ad­vice from her agent. This one is in fact highly for­get­table. A bet­ter name might have been Gone (Crazy) Girl or, to bor­row a line from the screen­play, Psy­cho Bar­bie.

The plot, by Christina Hod­son and David John­son, is one of those ev­ery-woman’s-worst-night­mare sce­nar­ios. Ju­lia (Rosario Daw­son) has an abu­sive ex-boyfriend in her past, and starts a re­la­tion­ship with nice-guy David (Ge­off Stults), whose ex-wife, Tessa (Heigl), is evil.

You can tell she’s evil be­cause Di Novi has swapped out the usual rom-com fil­ter used to film Heigl, re­plac­ing it with a 35-mm evil lens. Also, she has an evil/crazy look in her eye, and does crazy/evil things like steal Ju­lia’s phone and hack into her life. Even her wind chimes, in­ex­pli­ca­bly hung in­side the house, sound evil. You don’t need a de­gree in psy­chol­ogy to come up with this stuff, although a course or two in screen­writ­ing might have helped.

Any­way, the straight-ahead plot finds Tessa do­ing her best to mess with Ju­lia’s head, while David re­mains con­ve­niently off-screen, tend­ing to his start-up brew­ery. There’s also a daugh­ter from the first mar­riage, played by Abi­gail Bres­lin clone Is­abella Kai Rice.

Ch­eryl Ladd also pops up as Tessa’s neu­rotic mom, as if to prove that it takes one dam­aged blonde to pro­duce an­other. And Ju­lia has a shrink and a cou­ple of good friends that help drain what ten­sion there is out of the movie; surely the idea with an ef­fec­tive thriller is to iso­late the pro­tag­o­nist?

But Un­for­get­table isn’t an ef­fec­tive thriller. Di Novi uses creepy mu­sic and cam­era an­gles to rep­re­sent hon­est emo­tion, and phys­i­cal close­ness be­tween char­ac­ters in place of any real con­nec­tion. There’s lit­tle in the way of shocks or sur­prises and a fi­nal-scene sortof twist pro­duced more groans than gasps from a re­cent pre­view au­di­ence. They seemed eager to for­get the ex­pe­ri­ence. For­tu­nately, that shouldn’t prove dif­fi­cult.

Rosario Daw­son, left, and Kather­ine Heigl are seen in a scene from Un­for­get­table.

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