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Over Her Dead Body Review

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Set in the kitchen of a chaotic blue-collar family home, it introduces the malevolent Enid, dedicated to victimising her sweet baby sister, June.

★★★★★

This black screwball farce - a kind of sub-Joe Orton flirtation with suburban passion and corpse disposal reworked in American backwoods style - has one of the funniest and most original opening sequences to turn up for a long time. Set in the kitchen of a chaotic blue-collar family home, it introduces the malevolent Enid, dedicated to victimising her sweet baby sister, June.

Time passes and Enid (Mueller), now married to her childhood playmate, Harry (who has turned into Judge Reinhold), catches him in bed with June (who has turned into Elizabeth Perkins). In the ensuing fracas, Enid is hit over the head with a china clown, and the rest of the movie is concerned with the attempts to dispose of her lifeless remains. Things are made harder because Harry is one half of the local police force and leaves most of the dirty work to his increasingly distraught mistress.

Elizabeth Perkins, in unfamiliar guise as a peroxided, ingenious working class girl, does everything she can with a potentially fabulous showcase role and certainly displays a new versatility throughout. In spite of some nice scenery and an occasional crude belly-laugh, though, Over Her Dead Body is noisy, silly, unconvincing and superficial, and suffers from a fatal uncertainty of tone. At one point Perkins, stranded in a godforsaken stretch of New Mexico, screams, "I can not take it any more; no more." You may well be forced to agree.