DIRECTOR Joe Dante WRITER Alan Trezza STARS Anton Yelchin; Ashley Greene; Alexandra Daddario CINEMA 19 June
Many of us feel a nostalgic fondness for Joe Dante. Growing up on repeat watches of The ‘Burbs and Gremlins, the man shaped this generation’s horror-comedy viewing right through to adolescence with the excellent Eerie, Indiana. Burying the Ex is initially, therefore, striking in some comforting familiarity: both framing and edit style — the film shares Marshall Harvey, editor of The ‘Burbs — pop right out, while the aesthetic, bar a warmer palette, is late eighties. Complementing this is a production design that brings the cartoon suburbia feel of The ‘Burbs. So far, so good.
It is unfortunate, then, that the screenplay is so lacking; dated in fact, a largely sexist humour falling flat. Coming from his 2008 short of the same title, Alan Trezza’s concept of a demanding girlfriend back from the dead to ruin her lover’s blossoming new relationship feels sparse and undeveloped. Populated by stock types, the story is backed by little in the way of characterisation, and missing is a necessary campiness to complement the aesthetic. Really, Burying the Ex feels something of a missed opportunity, relying on the punchline of its title, particularly in the wake of the recent Life After Beth (review here) balancing its zombie element against relationship complexities so effectively.