Un­for­get­table

If only venge­ful ex-wives were as non­threat­en­ing as doe-eyed Kather­ine Heigl.

The Washington Post - - THE WEATHER - BY PAT PADUA goin­gout­guide@wash­post.com

Would any­one who works for an online busi­ness re­ally not have a Face­book ac­count? The toxic-re­la­tion­ship thriller “Un­for­get­table” hopes view­ers won’t re­mem­ber its pesky plot holes, but de­spite a mostly unin­spired cast, this predictable film even­tu­ally builds a campy mo­men­tum.

We meet a scarred, shaken Ju­lia (Rosario Daw­son) in clas­sic noir style as po­lice in­ter­ro­gate her about a mur­der she claims she didn’t com­mit. Well, how does she ex­plain all those Face­book mes­sages she ex­changed with the vic­tim, her abu­sive exboyfriend?

The plot un­folds six months ear­lier, when Ju­lia is leav­ing a job at an online sto­ry­telling com­pany to move to San Fran­cisco with her fi­ance, David (Ge­off Stults), and his daugh­ter, Lily (Isabella Rice). Un­for­tu­nately, David’s ex-wife, Tessa (Kather­ine Heigl), doesn’t hide her con­tempt for her re­place­ment, be­lit­tling her at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. When Tessa learns that her ri­val isn’t on Face­book (there are such peo­ple, but in this con­text it doesn’t make sense), she cre­ates an ac­count for her and con­tacts Ju­lia’s ex-boyfriend, set­ting in mo­tion a lurid and ridicu­lous so­cial-me­dia melo­drama.

The film ramps up the hor­ror of do­mes­tic ten­sions be­tween and within fam­i­lies. Tessa, it turns out, has never been able to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions of her up­per­class mi­lieu or of her de­mand­ing mother (Cheryl Ladd). Vet­eran pro­ducer Denise Di Novi, for her first fea­ture as a di­rec­tor, ob­serves two women buck­ling un­der enor­mous pres­sure.

It’s too bad that Heigl isn’t up to the demands of her role. While she ex­udes phys­i­cal strength, her doe eyes lack the sever­ity to make some­thing truly threat­en­ing out of the kind of role that screen le­gend Joan Craw­ford could have per­formed in her sleep. The film’s men are even less dis­tinct. Stults is barely dis­tin­guish­able from Ju­lia’s mildly sneer­ing ex (Si­mon Kas­sian­ides).

Per­haps sur­pris­ingly, tele­vi­sion vet­eran Ladd in­jects a bit of needed life into the film. But as Tessa’s patho­log­i­cal machi­na­tions de­scend into nearly slap­stick vi­o­lence, you wish for more vivid per­for­mances to fill out this live-ac­tion Road Run­ner and Wile E. Coy­ote bat­tle.

“Un­for­get­table” bor­rows ele­ments from film noir, Life­time movies and slasher flicks and up­dates them for the In­ter­net age. But this for­get­table thriller will sim­ply make you re­mem­ber other, bet­ter films.

R. At area the­aters. Con­tains sex­ual sit­u­a­tions, strong lan­guage, vi­o­lence and brief par­tial nu­dity. 100 min­utes.

KAREN BALLARD/WARNER BROS. PIC­TURES

Ju­lia (Rosario Daw­son, left) is en­gaged to the ex-hus­band of Tessa (Kather­ine Heigl), the woman scorned who’s un­leash­ing her fury in the thriller “Un­for­get­table.”

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