Movie Review - Let's Kill Ward's Wife

Donald Faison plays Ward in 'Let's Kill Ward's Wife'
There is a reference to How to Get Away with Murder, a TV series produced by Shonda Rhimes. It's a reference within this movie, written and directed by Scott Foley, an actor in Scandal, a TV series penned by Shonda Rhimes. However, instead of the preponderance of drama in those Shonda Rhimes shows, this movie has a darkly more comedic stance to it.

The problem is that the first act is a bit of a mess. It's not as funny. It has a tone, which gets totally abandoned in the second and third where a switch is flipped and all the characters start behaving in ways that's just devoid of all humanity, so that they're all basically just cartoon characters.

I get how the incident at the end of the first act would change everyone's personalities, but the transition is really too quick, instantaneous in fact. The titular character is supposed to be awful, but strangely enough she's not awful enough to the ensemble cast who plots to kill her.

The assumption is that this movie would be like Murder on the Orient Express (1974), except not a mystery but more on the side of the criminals than the detective.

The movie, however, becomes less about committing the crime and more about covering it up. After the incident, there are some funny moments like when the entire group has to strip naked in order to dispose of their clothes, which might have evidence of the crime, but whatever comedic thrust is slowed with a surprising lack of obstacles or antagonisms. The plot to cover up the crime comes too easily. If you watched the first season of Breaking Bad, then you'd see more comedy in the characters' attempts to cover up a murder than here.

Foley has assembled a great cast, most of whom he's related by marriage. This includes Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) who stars as David, a down-on-his-luck actor who's separated from his wife. Donald Faison (Scrubs) co-stars as Ward, the bullied and put-upon husband and new father. James Carpinello (The Mob Doctor) also co-stars as Ronnie, the brash and overly confident, personal trainer. Greg Gunberg (Felicity) plays the next-door neighbor and cop who desperately wants to join Ward's golf games with his friends.

There's also a great group of actresses, including Amy Acker (Angel) as Gina, the wife of magazine writer, Tom, played by Foley. Dagmara Dominczyk plays Stacy, the titular character who is just an unapologetic bitch, the ball-buster in chief. Unfortunately, her constant demeaning and emasculating of her husband never felt like it came from any place real or solid. She's just a one-note, comic book villain. It makes it easier to dismiss her but is that funnier?

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 22 mins.


Popular Posts