Friday, April 10, 2015

Time-waster worth a watch: Anthony Burns' hot-and-heavy family satire, HOME SWEET HELL

Garnering a lowly 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, this odd, dark, often bloody comedy satire on a particular wife and mother's need for a storybook life, HOME SWEET HELL -- out now on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD and digital platforms -- turns out to be a bit better than you've heard, mostly thanks to its good cast, and the surprise in finally seeing that odd actress Katherine Heigl in the kind of role she was evidently born to play. Too heavy of face and feature to fit neatly into the typical romantic comedy mode (in which she first came to our notice) and a bit too heavy-handed in her delivery to make those movies, which ought to have been more light-footed, work to their best advantage, here Heigl comes into her own.

The plot involves an uber-controlling wife (Heigl, above, left) whose hubby (the always interesting and versatile Patrick Wilson, above, center) is finally driven into the arms of that "other woman" (Jordana Brewster, below), who turns out to offer a good deal more than meets the eye. Mayhem ensues.

The leads are fine, and the film includes funny, loosey-goosey perfor-mances from the likes of Kevin McKidd, Jim Belushi and A.J. Buckley. The screenplay, credited to a trio of writers, gets its points across swiftly if a bit heavily, as does the direction by Anthony Burns (Skateland). But in an over-the-top movie like this one, that may be the better solution to bringing home the bacon economically and entertainingly.

Ms Heigl is a revelation, in any case -- beginning like a simply too-fired-up wife and mom and slowly morphing into something fierce, frightening and funny. The character loses us and then wins us back by virtue of the actress' all-stops-out performance. This movie -- from Sony/Stage 6 and running 97 minutes -- may be silly, but it won't bore you.

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