Why is it so fun to watch women fight on film?
Making one of them an obsessive ex only cranks up the crazy. From Alicia Silverstone's "Lolita" turn in "The Crush," to Ali Larter's man-stealing attempts in "Obsessed," the "psycho ex thriller" genre offers a trashy good time. Some entries into the genre attempt to play it straight, which drains the much of the fun out of the film. Not so here: "Unforgettable" thankfully knows exactly what kind of popcorn movie it is aiming to be, with an entertainingly camp performance by Katherine Heigl.
Coming off of an abusive relationship, Julia (Rosario Dawson) has finally met David (Geoff Stults), the man of her dreams, and is about to start a new life with him and his daughter, Lily (Isabella Kai Rice). But, as with all fairy tales, there's an evil queen looking to ruin the couple's happily ever after. In this tale it's Tessa (Heigl), the ex-wife who projects a picture-perfect existence but who is teetering on the edge of insanity. She's not afraid to use Lily as a pawn in the battle to break the happy couple up in a bid to reclaim her happy existence with her family.
To be fair, "Unforgettable" is a Lifetime movie of the week produced on a feature film budget. By all accounts, that is also where it will probably end up in a year or two. But as anyone who has ever spent a Saturday night at home can attest, some of those movies are more fun than they really ought to be. The camp factor is so high here that you can't help but to sit back and enjoy yourself. Laughs, unintentional or not, abound from the very beginning.
What makes "Unforgettable" truly stand out is that it is a female-centric film. Obviously, the lead catfight roles are female, but behind the camera the director and writer are both female, as well. There's a different feel when male directors or writers attempt to tell the story from a female perspective. Screenwriter Christina Hodson even tries to soften Tessa slightly by providing some background as to why she is so high strung (hint: it's her mother's fault!).
While the creative team might have nailed getting the women correct, the film does still portray David as a dopey, clueless boyfriend. This is really more of a gripe with this sub-genre as a whole. The men never believe their girlfriends and brush off their concerns as the woman is being paranoid or overly sensitive. It's not until he gets clubbed with a fire poker that it (literally) hits David that Tessa might be crazy. If only there was a gay best friend to have warned him!
Heigl make a triumphant return to the big screen after being relegated to indie movies and failed television shows with an over-the-top, icy performance. From the obsessive hair brushing to aggressively polishing silver pie servers -- not to mention the oversized caftan she wears for the climatic fight scene -- Heigl is near perfection as the jilted ex-wife. It doesn't hurt that La Heigl has a reputation of being a handful on sets from which she can draw her motivation. Nevertheless, even when the dialogue is groan-inducing, the actress does her best to wring the most effect from it. She knows exactly what type of movie she is starring in, and isn't afraid to ham it up while gnawing on a few set pieces.
There's a lot of maneuvering between the two women throughout the film, but the knock-down, drag-out finale isn't as long or bloody as you would have expected. Both actresses seem to be having fun during their confrontations, but for the finale you want a grudge match-style face-off. There's enough here to satisfy, but with everything else in the film being so over-the-top, it wouldn't have hurt to push it a little bit further here, too.
"Unforgettable" is really Katherine Heigl's movie, and Rosario Dawson is just playing in it. Grab some popcorn and friends, because this might just be the most fun you'll have at the theaters for a while.
InfoRuntime :: 100 mins
Release Date :: Apr 21, 2017
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States
CastJulia Banks :: Rosario Dawson
Tessa Connover :: Katherine Heigl
David Connover :: Geoff Stults
Lily Connover :: Isabella Rice
Miguel :: Alex Quijano
Sarah :: Sarah Burns
Ali :: Whitney Cummings
Michael Vargas :: Simon Kassianides
Detective Pope :: Robert Wisdom
Helen/Lovey :: Cheryl Ladd
Brunette Woman :: Stephanie Escajeda
Saleswoman :: Kincaid Walker
Deputy Stevens :: Aline Elasmar
Jason :: Jayson Blair
CrewDirector :: Denise Di Novi
Screenwriter :: Christina Hodson
Producer :: Denise Di Novi
Producer :: Alison Greenspan
Producer :: Ravi Mehta
Executive Producer :: Lynn Harris
Executive Producer :: Steven Mnuchin
Cinematographer :: Caleb Deschanel
Film Editor :: Frédéric Thoraval
Original Music :: Toby Chu
Production Design :: Nelson Coates
Art Director :: Chris Dileo
Set Decoration :: Robert Gould
Costume Designer :: Marian Toy
Casting :: Susie Farris