** 1/2 out of 5
Rated R for sexual content, partial nudity, some horror violence, and language
Article first published as Movie Review: Joe Dante’s ‘Burying the Ex’ Starring Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, and Alexandra Daddario on Blogcritics.
It’s hard to watch one of your favorite directors fall from grace. I
was always impressed with the way Joe Dante always delivered over his
first two decades of movie-making, never a stranger to jumping from
genre to genre. One thing was always the same though, you knew you were
watching a Dante film. Through Piranha, The Howling, Gremlins, Explorers, segment “3” of The Twilight Zone: The Movie, Innerspace, The ‘Burbs, Gremlins 2, Matinee, even Small Soldiers, it was a strong 20 years of endless entertainment.
Then when it came time to make the film he seemed destined to make — Looney Tunes: Back in Action
— he seemed to have hit a roadblock and the film was not the success it
should have been. It would be six years before he’d direct another
feature that resembled his own oeuvre (The Hole), and now another six years after that, he has wrought his worst film yet with Burying the Ex.
Dante may have rounded up a game cast — mostly in his lead Anton
Yelchin — but the energy his film’s once had is missing in full.
Max (Yelchin) is in a relationship with Evelyn (Ashley Greene) who
forces him to eat vegan and hates that he works at a horror-themed
“Boo-tique.” Their relationship hits the skids after a bus plows down
Evelyn, but not before they make a promise in front of a mystical Satan
Genie that grants their wish to be together forever. Now, Evelyn has
come back from the dead and is making Max keep his promise, no matter
how much she starts to decompose. Now, Max has to hatch a plan with his
step-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper) to get rid of Evelyn forever so that
he can start a new romance with malt shop owner Olivia (Alexandra
Daddario), whom he shares a mutual love of the macabre.
the elements are ripe for Dante to make a grand comeback, but he’s
saddled with an obvious and cliched screenplay from Alan Trezza, making a
debut that will doubtfully make Hollywood come knocking. While it may
play up the fact that Evelyn is fully aware she’s a zombie, Burying the Ex
is utterly lifeless. Yelchin does what he can with Daddario, but the
two don’t have enough screentime to make you root for them as a couple.
They don’t even start “dating” until roughly an hour into the film. The
rest of the time we’re stuck watching Greene act in full
The one joke that made me laugh came from Travis who points out the
fact that they’re half-brothers “from the good side.” And being the film
buff I am, I felt extreme anxiety when Max comes home to find his
apartment turned 100 percent green with his imported posters folded up
in a drawer. I would have driven the nearest object through Evelyn’s
brain right then. But alas, we’re stuck waiting for the inevitable
showdown, where at least there’s a last minute twist that actually makes
sense. As for the rest of the movie, Burying the Ex is never
funny enough, gross enough, or even Dante enough, to warrant even the
most curious filmgoer. If anything should be buried, it’s this film off
Dante’s once golden resume.