2017, R, 100 mins.
Katherine Heigl as Tessa / Rosario Dawson as Julia / Cheryl Ladd as the Connover's mother / Geoff Stults as David / Jayson Blair as Jason Michaels / Alex Quijano as Miguel / Aline Elasmar as Detective Stevens /
Directed by Denise Di Novi / Written by Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson
Very few films from the year thus far have been on embarrassing autopilot as much as UNFORGETTABLE, which comes off as so monotonously archaic as a genre entry that you'll left wanting to shake your head, reach out to your smart phone, and quickly check the date to ensure that you haven't time warped to a cinema 20-plus years ago.
so many endless permutations of the psychotic and stalkerish ex-girlfriend
from hell erotic thriller that I've frankly lost count over the years,
not to mention that I've lost complete interest in wanting to experience
yet another one that's pathetically going through the conventional
motions. There's no genre
troupe stone left unturned by UNFORGETTABLE, which makes it feel woefully
disposable within the first twenty minutes.
That, and the
film squanders the immense talents of Rosario Dawson in a throwaway role
that could have been occupied by any other lesser actress of limited
range. Plus, UNFORGETTABLE
makes the inordinately wrong casting choice of nabbing Katherine Heigl to
play its prototypical lunatic that will stop at nothing to get her man
via any sickening means necessary. Heigl
is, to be fair, a reasonably talented actress that I have liked in films
before (like KNOCKED UP), but she's
made one categorically awful film after another over the last decade,
like 27 DRESSES, THE
UGLY TRUTH, KILLERS, LIFE AS WE
KNOW IT, and ONE FOR THE MONEY.
Now, we're called upon to believe her as a ruthlessly cold hearted
and savagely violent home breaker that's several French fries short of a
Happy Meal. Yeah...it's an
egregious stretch, to say the least.
The barest of bare bones plot here begins with one of the most increasingly overused storytelling gimmicks of the last several years - the flashforward that leads to the flashback. During the opening scene we see the film's heroine Julia (Dawson) as she's being interrogated by the police while bloodied, bruised, and anxiety plagued. Apparently, a man that was once stalking her is dead and she has some pretty damming evidence levied against her that points towards her being the guilty perpetrator. We then flashback before all of this chaos to Julia moving to L.A. to live with her soon-to-be fiancé David (Geoff Stults) and work from home. Of course, David is a divorcee with a child and his ex, Tessa (Heigl), is one of those exceedingly privileged, high maintenance and self-important Barbie dolls that still feels a bond with her former hubbie and believes that things could still work out for them.
He has plans to move on and marry Julia.
will not end well.
sends Tessa over the deep end, which launches her on a deeply
sinister plan to destroy Julia's life from the inside out.
Julia has recently - as mentioned - been dealing with a mad
stalker, whom she placed a restraining order on before she moved to
California, and with this information Tessa begins a sabotage social media
campaign by creating a phony Facebook account to lure that psycho stalker
out of hiding (Tessa poses as Julia during Facebook message chats with the
man). Complicating matters
worse is that Tessa then steals personal effects from Julia, like her
engagement ring, to make her look like a negligent dummy to David.
In a real unsavory move, Tessa even begins to use her own daughter
(Isabella Kai Rice) to create a rift between Julia and David.
Faster than you can say "FATAL ATTRACTION!" all the
parties come to a head during a climax that will surprise absolutely no
one that has a pulse in the theatre...at least those that stuck with this
film until the very end.
could have been a highly self-aware and campy delight if it were willing
to embrace its laughable ludicrousness with a wink-wink level of
this would-be steamy and erotic stalker thriller takes itself as serious
as a heart attack, which makes it unintentionally hysterical to endure.
Perhaps the biggest sin of the film is that it's so aggressively
lazy in its narrative and payoffs. There
is not one genuine surprise turn of developments all throughout UNFORGETTABLE,
seeing as anyone with a reasonable head on their shoulders will be able to
pinpoint with laser precision exactly where the story is heading.
The genuine lack of screenplay ambition here to at least try to
segregate itself from an awfully crowded pack is mind-numbing.
UNFORGETTABLE should be compulsory viewing in film schools for how
not to write screenplays that lethargically pander to every genre formula
in the book.
really, really bothered me about this movie: It's written by a woman (Christina
Hodson) and directed by a woman (Denise Di Novi, making her directorial
debut after spending a career producing 35 films, many for Tim Burton),
but yet it's patently offensive to female audience members.
UNFORGETTABLE feebly tries to evoke a message of female
empowerment, but instead becomes cheap, nauseating, and sexist exploitation
trash. It's essentially about
two beyond gorgeous women that become hellishly embroiled in a viscous
mental and physical war that involves winning over the affections of a man
in order to emerge victorious and validated in life. I'd be willing to forgive the makers here if they were trying
to make UNFORGETTABLE as a piece of sensationalistic B-grade
entertainment, but they kind of want to have their cake and eat it too.
Beyond the film's
hopelessly outdated and ironically misogynistic scripting - which also
leads to a finale that's so forced, so telegraphed, so ludicrous, and so
utterly bereft of logic that I yearned to frustratingly slap my head - the
only thing we are really left with are the actors doing what they can with
the hackneyed material. Heigl,
as alluded to earlier, is six ways to Sunday miscast here, and Dawson -
God love her - at least tries to give a credible performance as an
in-over-her-head victim. They're not aided at all by the lead male actor in Geoff
Stults, who's so vanilla bland in the film that you're
left puzzled as to why either of these women would ever fight to spend the
rest of their lives with him. On
one huge positive, though, UNFORGETTABLE looks pretty, thanks largely to
the talents of veteran cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, whose immense
talents would have, no doubt, been better utilized in a far better film.
UNFORGETTABLE is an intolerable bore of a film and a genre thriller that spins its wheels with such an annoying and leisurely pace that it inspires frequent watch checking. Why on earth in 2017 do we still get recycled films like this that are so disinterested in creatively taking challenges and risks with this type of material? You'd think that an industry staple producer like Di Novi would have displayed shrewder instincts with film choices to mark her debut behind the camera, but no dice. UNFORGETTABLE ostensibly exists to inspire perpetual MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000 levels of ridicule while watching it, but is easily forgotten once exiting the cinema.