As far as film genres go, the romantic comedy is one of the most formulaically rigid; the necessary ingredients are so specific, it can be difficult to put them together in fresh or inventive ways. So, many filmmakers attempt to bring new life to the rom-com skeleton by injecting it with all the tropes and trappings of a whole separate genre. Sometimes that means taking a rom-com and dressing it up in comic book clothes—like My Super Ex-Girlfriend. More often, it means mingling the rom-com plot with some vaguely mystical plotlines that, at their best, elevate a standard love story into something a bit more otherworldly—as in Ghost and the more recent Just Like Heaven are two prime examples of the latter.
Add to that short list Over Her Dead Body, a film with a title indicative not only of its tilt toward supernaturalism, but also its general level of corniness. The basic skeleton of the story is nothing particularly new or exciting—a guy and a girl get together despite odds working against them, they fall in love, there is some miscommunication that leads to a painful break-up, and, in a last-ditch, make-it-or-break-it attempt to save the relationship, one party makes a broad, confessional speech to the other in hopes that honesty and true love will win the day. Looks like a rom-com, talks like a rom-com, smells like a rom-com. But there's a bit more to it than that: The story also involves ghosts, fortune tellers, communication with other worlds, and, in one scene, even an exorcism.
It's not a bad premise for a rom-com, really: A year ago, Henry (Paul Rudd) lost his fiancée, Kate (Eva Longoria Parker) on the day of their wedding, and now his sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) has dragged him to the home ...1