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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

The outdoor location is perfect. The place settings are perfect. The hors d'oeuvre trays are perfect. The flowers are perfect. And all the credit goes to Kate, the perfect bride, who planned it that way. Unfortunately for her, the perfect wedding day takes a turn for the worse when she's perfectly flattened by a toppling ice statue before the ceremony even begins.

Kate's fiancé, Henry, takes her death pretty hard. A year later, he's still depressed and plans never to marry. His sister Chloe is concerned, so she hatches a plan to help her big bro get on with his life. Enter Ashley, a caterer-turned-psychic who's supposed to make everything better by telling Henry that Kate wants him to get over her and find someone new.

Problem: Kate doesn't want Henry to find someone new. Controlling in death as she was in life, Kate wants to keep Henry's heart to herself forever. And when Ashley starts to fall for her reluctant client, she gets in touch with Kate's ghost in some ways she never bargained for.

Positive Elements

Ultimately, this story is about Kate doing something good for the man she loves, even at great cost to her (dead) self. Along the way, positive sentiments are shared about telling the truth and taking care of family members.

Spiritual Content

Over Her Dead Body revolves around two supernatural occurrences: Ashley trying to contact dead people and Kate visiting Ashley as a ghost.

Ashley isn't a stereotypical moony psychic. She's pragmatic and humble, explaining that she can only occasionally make contact with dead people. Describing her philosophy to Henry, she says, "The people we love never leave us. They're always watching over us, and sometimes we get to talk to them."

As for the ghostly Kate, she appears to have a normal human body, but we discover that she can walk through walls, she can't be injured and she doesn't need sleep. She believes her mission on earth is to "protect Henry," ostensibly by preventing him from ever loving someone other than her. The first time she shows herself to Ashley, she puts on quite a show, complete with levitation and a chorus of voices, all intended to scare Ashley away from Henry. Later, Ashley is both annoyed by Kate's pestering and fascinated by the presence of a ghost in her apartment.

Henry, for his part, is a mild skeptic about the supernatural. It's not that he doesn't believe in a spiritual realm, it's just that he's never seen proof of it, so he's noncommittal. He good-naturedly goes along with Ashley's psychic practices, but it takes most of the movie to convince him that she's actually contacting Kate. (This is complicated by the fact that at first, Ashley isn't contacting Kate; she's just doing a good job of faking it.)

Beside ghosts, the other supernatural beings who figure prominently in this film are angels. After Kate's death, she meets an angel in a white room. The angel tries to give Kate instructions about her return to earth, but mouthy Kate won't let the celestial creature get a word in edgewise.

Fed up with Kate's pestering, Ashley calls upon a priest to perform an exorcism in her apartment. Father Marks is compassionate and understanding, and deliberately doesn't lecture Ashley for her poor church attendance. He does tell her that visits from ghosts are a consequence she should expect for dabbling in the occult. He makes her promise that she will discontinue her psychic practices and return to church if he performs the exorcism for her. Kate's ghost pretends to flee when Father Marks banishes her, but she reappears as soon as he walks out the door. Jokes are made about heaven and hell.

Sexual Content

Ashley changes clothes in front of her friend and catering assistant, Dan, assuming it's OK because he's obviously not interested in women. She's shown in her bra, and later in a nightshirt. Dan once comments that men, no matter if they pursue women or other men, are "a real goal-oriented gender when it comes to sex." A man in an airport comes on to Dan.

[Spoiler Warning] We later discover that Dan has only been pretending to be attracted to men so that he can be close to Ashley. The ruse stemmed from a misunderstanding at the beginning of their friendship: Though Dan had been in love with Ashley from the beginning, she had assumed he was gay because he waited more than a week to make a move on her. Once the secret is out, Ashley is horrified that she and her "safe gay friend" have taken bubble baths together.

Because of one of Kate's ghostly attacks, Ashley ends up running out of the shower at the gym into a roomful of people. She's wearing only a tiny towel around her waist and covering her breasts with her hands. More disturbing is when Kate sets out to ruin Henry and Ashley's first sexual encounter. While they're engaged in foreplay—rolling about on the bed with their clothes on—Kate positions herself directly in Ashley's line of sight. She sings. She makes farting noises. She won't leave Ashley alone. To drown out the perky ghost, Ashley asks Henry to talk dirty to her—very loudly.

References are made to masturbation, oral sex and breast size.

Violent Content

Kate's accidental death comes early in the movie. We see the ice sculpture falling toward her and hear that it has crushed her to death. Later, while she's toying with Ashley, Kate jumps from a roof as if to her death. But she's already dead, so she can't do any more damage.

Dan—who is a total dunce in the kitchen—does a bit of cartoonish violence to himself when he sets his shirtsleeve on fire, then makes matters worse by dousing it in a pot of boiling water.

Crude or Profane Language

In a movie about life after death, it's slightly ironic that God Himself never appears, yet His name gets abused nearly a dozen times (once in conjunction with "d--n"). The s-word is said once. "H---" and "d--n" are used a handful of times each. There's also a smattering of crude words such as "d--k," "sucks" and "screwed."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Champagne is served at a few weddings.

Other Negative Elements

Chloe's plan to have Ashley help Henry is good-hearted, but based on a lie. From the beginning, she doesn't really believe that Ashley can contact Kate, so she gives the psychic Kate's diary. Once Ashley has convinced Henry that she's for real, Chloe instructs her to lie to him, saying that Kate wants him to move on and find happiness with someone else.


If you build your film around a psychic trying to communicate with the dead and a ghost who's more than willing to oblige her, it doesn't really matter what the final message is, the spiritual problems you create will surely overwhelm it. And the uniformly lame/silly messages Over Her Dead Body preaches don't even begin to give such a significant obstacle a run for its money. Especially since—onscreen—a priest's efforts at exorcism are easily whisked away as so much foolishness. After that, how much weight can his admonition to Ashley that she quit her occult ways possibly carry?

From strictly an artistic perspective, meanwhile, how much weight can Kate's relationship with Henry carry when the lead-up to her death is so short and her personality so annoying that it's hard to understand why he's attracted to her in life, let alone still attached to her after death? And when Ashley and Henry start to fall for one another, Kate butts in so quickly that there's no time for any chemistry to develop between them, either. So we're given absolutely nothing to root for here—except for maybe the closing credits. And that's without even mentioning embarrassing sexual situations and crude language.

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Eva Longoria Parker as Kate; Paul Rudd as Henry; Lake Bell as Ashley; Jason Biggs as Dan; Lindsay Sloane as Chloe; Stephen Root as The Sculptor; William Morgan Sheppard as Father Marks; Kali Rocha as The Angel


Jeff Lowell ( )


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Lindy Keffer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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