The Horror Honeys: 'Serious Moonlight' is a Serious Drag...

'Serious Moonlight' is a Serious Drag...

A Revenge Honey Review by Linnie

Serious Moonlight (2009)

As evidenced by the year this week's film came out, I have obviously been putting off watching the Cheryl Hines helmed Serious Moonlight for a while. First, I haven't wanted to watch it because the script for this movie was the last thing Adrienne Shelly wrote before she was murdered in 2006. Waitress is one of my favorite films and I couldn't bear to see anything that was less perfect than that. Second, and a huge part of me feels terrible for admitting this, but looking at Meg Ryan in the last 8 years is tremendously uncomfortable for me. The plasticine nature of her face just serves to remind me of my own mortality and I don't like it. Hollywood is a fickle and awful place for women but when an actress I've been watching in movies since I was a toddler alters her appearance so much that she now looks younger than me, I find it depressing in a way that is impossible to quantify with the mere words of mortals.

And yet, here we are. I finally watched Serious Moonlight after deciding to start working through my Netflix queue based on how hard I've been avoiding a film. And it was everything I expected it to be.

Which was awful.

You sir, are exactly where a douchebag belongs. In the bathroom.
The Story: Louise (Ryan) takes off work to meet her husband at their country house a day early. But unbeknownst to her, Ian (Timothy Hutton) is already there sprucing the place up for his mistress Sarah (Kristen Bell) and leaving Louise a really lousy "I'm taking off with my mistress for Paris! Sucks to be you!" letter. But Louise is convinced that Ian still loves her, and if she has to duct tape him to a toilet to make him realize it, then by god, she will do so! Unfortunately, the house is also robbed at the same time (by Justin Long of all people), leaving Louise and Ian duct taped together in the bathroom. Will love re-blossom over the smell of urine and dried blood?

When Justin Long is the film's voice of reason, you've made a wrong turn.
This is one of those films that proves horror films come in every kind of packaging. Serious Moonlight is so shockingly unpleasant to sit through, I find it mind-boggling that anyone involved didn't realize that what they were doing was atrocious. If Shelley meant for this script to be dark comedic look at the end of a marriage, Cheryl Hines threw so many kittens and sunshine and rainbows at it, that when Ian is using Louise's inability to get pregnant as a reason he cheated, I actually felt my skin crawling. Because Ian says some truly awful things to Louise (in addition to the pregnancy thing, calling her ugly and old, blaming her independence for him not feeling needed, etc etc douchebag etc), that you want to grab Louise by the shoulders and scream, "GIRL! YOU CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!"

You don't owe anyone favors. Stop acting beneath your skill set.
And then... Kristen Bell as Sarah comes shrieking in, the hysterical, dumb blonde B-side to Louise's calm and cool lawyer and page 7 out of the midlife crisis catalogue. She is never more than a stereotype of a mistress, one that pouts and whines and demands satisfaction NOOOOOW. An actress of Bell's comedic talent and timing deserves significantly better than what she got from Serious Moonlight, and I cringed every moment she was on screen. Any other actress in this role, and I might have been okay. But not Kristen Bell.

But outside of the casting, the real problem with Serious Moonlight is the directing. You can almost feel that the script is reaching for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but all Hines's direction gives us is a couple screeching at each other, and at no point was I ever rooting for these two to get back together. At the very least, I was hoping the two women would leave Ian taped to the toilet and skip off into the sunset together. Instead, we get a happy ending that rings horribly false and a "twist" that will leave you feeling empty. It is said that when Hines agreed to direct Shelly's script, she promised not to change a word. The problem with Serious Moonlight is not in the words, but in the way they are put forth by the actors and never controlled by an untested director. Adrienne Shelly may have had something real to say about the state of the modern marriage as it pertains to women with more power, but we'll never know, as Cheryl Hines made a movie in which Meg Ryan got to act kooky for an hour and a half and still get the guy in the end.

This isn't the 80s anymore, gals. All of us, even Meg Ryan but especially Adrienne Shelly, deserve better than what Serious Moonlight is serving up.

Revenge Honey Rating: 0 Rolls of Duct Tape out of 5  

Serious Moonlight is available on Netflix Instant, Amazon Instant Video, & blu-ray/DVD