Due to Chicago O'Hare being totally awesome with constant weather delays, I am posting this from the airport! Feel the future! Also, after posting it, I noticed it was slightly longer then the Hobbit. I can't do much, as I am at the airport, but I am doing my best to edit it while I am here. Sorry!
The movie starts with a dude sulking around outside a nice suburban house. Could he be a stalker, or is he just checking the water meter or something? Who knows? The film's premise nicely laid out by our creepy crawlin' buddy outside, we are now going inside to meet the family. A creepily adult-sounding boy named Danny asks his pet turtle not to get parasites. Alex (Shannon Elizabeth) appears and still can't act, ever. Also, a dudeL His name is Chris, he's got a chiseled jawline, and he really loves kids, so you know he'll be the "good guy" in this one. He talks about how much he likes kids, and then they have sex. Horrible Lifetime sex. Man, they love to make out. So much kissing. Anyway, it eventually draws to a merciful close and it's lights out.
Now it is nighttime and we get a series of establishing "peaceful sleep" shots. Alex wakes up and tries to look scared, but being played Shannon Elizabeth is too much of a handicap to overcome. She runs to check on her boy. She walks into his room and sees teddy bear sitting in a chair. Alex does the logical thing and calls the police.
Finally, the movie decides to throw us a bone in the form of Sargent Exposition, a leaden voiced man-faced police officer who slowly forces Alex to explain some back story. Alex reveals she has an ex-husband, Julian, who is obsessed with her and her son and rules her life with terror through strategic placement of child-friendly gifts. Alex reveals that Julian tried to kidnap kid and fuck off to Argentina, which makes her decision to let the kid go off with her suburban wonder-boyfriend a little odd, but whatever. The cop, very bored with crazy Alex, tells her to change the locks and leaves.
Next day! Alex goes to her patented Acceptable Working Mom job: the generic editor. She shakes hands with a new author who looks a lot like the human form of the teapot from Beauty and the Beast. Uh-Oh! The author jumps back and looks startled. Did you know that the teapot from Beauty and the Beast is psychic!?
Let's get to know Alex's friend Denise better, as she's actually in this movie a lot. The Six to Alex's Blossom, her main role is to flounce about and belittle Alex while kibitzing about men that do not like her and loving chocolate and menses and other womanly things. They talk a little about Alex's terrifying ex stalking her, which is a great segue to talking about the hottie in the office that Denise wants to bang. Also, the Hottie is named Michael and he has this real sense of sweaty desperation to him that does not bother Alex but would keep a normal person far away.
Alex's boss has food poisoning and orders her to go to NY to meet up with a mystery author, accompanied by the office hottie. IN NY, our mystery lady author is a senators wife and they're trying to get her to write her memoirs. Everyone quotes Browning 20 times and it is awful.
They go to a restaurant to celebrate. Suddenly I notice that Michael looks kind of like Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I am angry that I am not watching that instead. Oh well. And OH MY GOD THEY ARE QUOTING BROWNING. We learn more about Michael: He's an English major, and he majored in English so fucking hard he won't shut up about the one Browning poem he knows no matter what happens. Alex's with it though, so they talk about how much they like the stupid poem for what seems like an hour. He also talks about his dead mom, which is sort of a weird detail to use when flirting with someone, but maybe he's going for sympathy for something. They end the dinner as besties and adjourn to the hotel. Alex's boyfriend calls, and Michael is so sad. Please note that Chris is fixing up a dream car. This is important for two reasons: it is a plot point later, and it also reinforces his non-threatening masculinity.
Alex comes home. We meet a young girl named Ellen whose relation to the family I am never quite able to figure out. Is she the creepy adult kid's sister? A babysitter? Is she just another stalker who was adopted into the home? Meanwhile, Chris is working on Greased Lightning. UH OH SOME FEET. Could it be the stalker? YES IT COULD! The evil feet propel evilly gloved hands to a lever that releases the whatever holding the car aloft, causing it to tumble down and bloodlessly squish our dream man.
At work, Alex is blissfully unaware that her dude is wiggling like a cockroach under 2 tons of his own weekend labor. Bigger things are afoot: Michael left a nicely wrapped Browning 1st edition as a gift on her desk! Alex, who does not have the common sense to see why this is weird, asks Michael to lunch. Alex gets a call from someone asking where her boyfriend is, so she fucks off to his house to look for him.
She wanders about looking for him, yelling like a moron and completely ignoring the obvious clue of loud music emanating from the garage. She finally finds him under the car- but still alive! Sargent Exposition is apparently off-duty, but Officer Backstory arrives on the scene soon enough. He gives Shannon the opportunity to tell us that Chris is the lawyer that helped Alex get a restraining order against the evil ex! Wait, isn't it illegal to date your clients? Law students or Law and Order fans, please let me know. Alex crosses her heart and hopes to die that it was the evil ex who attempted to smoosh her new rich fella. The cops try to explain that they are not allowed to imprison people based on the word of a crazy person, but she ain't having that. Later we see Alex and Chris in the hospital,where he's being treated for broken ribs and dehydration- what, did the car squish the liquids out of him? -and they bond on the near-death thing. Very touching.
Alex goes home. The stalker is back! Despite a police watch, he slips in easily through an unlocked door. Alex is sort of absent minded about the whole "stalker" thing. He steals a hairbrush! He slips out of her room as she wanders into it to listen to her messages. Michael calls and asks her to read a poem out of the Browning book. Oh hey, it's the same fucking poem that they were quoting at each other over dinner! It turns out to be the only poem by Browning anyone actually knows, and we now have to listen to Alex recite EVEN MORE POETRY. Soon she goes to sleep and the stalker comes in to watch her sleep some more. And leaves, politely, closing the door behind him. No, really.
Back at work, Michael continues to show his ignorance about boundary issues. Why won't Alex go out to lunch with him? No reason is good enough! Alex appears to be cottoning to the fact that he's a weirdo creep. Good job, sweetie.
There is another horrible sex scene between Alex and Chris we're going to skip. Cable sex is the worst sex ever. If I had a nickle for every orgasm that has been faked for the Lifetime network, I'd be able to afford a fucking TiVO.
Alex is back at the office for ANOTHER creepy moment with Michael. He will not stop giving her weird gifts. This time it's his dead mom's claddaugh! Anyway, Alex cold turns him down. It's revealed that Michael lied to get a look at her calendar, and that's why he was unwilling to accept her lunchtime excuses. Alex's friend Denise continues to be unsettling and dense, finding the borderline stalking "cute" and lecturing Alex on her inability to take creepy, controlling gestures as a lighthearted crush. While Alex is being chastised for having the sense to finally get weirded out by Michael, he steals her cell phone.
Since it's halfway through the movie, it's time for a twist! The police visit the recuperating Chris at home and tell him that Alex's ex husband is in London, so someone else has been doin' all the stalking!
Meanwhile Michael meets Alex outside of work and offers to give her a ride to some coffee to apologize for being a creep. Alex, displaying more of the awesome judgment she has shown so far in the film, agrees to go out with him. This movie is like an instructional film on how to get murdered by a crazy person.
A weird car ride ensues. At first Alex patiently tries to explain that she has a boyfriend. However, Michael reveals that he stole Alex's cell phone and poisoned their boss so they could go to NY together. He says he's sorry it was so weird, but he's kind of an awkward dude, and her jock boyfriend sucks, and he's also convinced they are soulmates and will be together forever in life and death. If only Alex knew this was par for the course when you get involved with nerdy dudes that quote poetry at you. So anyway, he's the stalker! If you guessed that, congratulations: you are smarter then the writers of the film.
Michael pulls the car over and orders Alex to step out into the clearing so he can quote more awful poetry at her. There's a hilarious scene where they fight over unlocking the passenger door. Michael works the unlocker button on his keychain, and Alex frantically scrambles to keep relocking the door from the inside. Sadly, it ends quickly. He drags her out of the car, hollerin' about soulmates, and in the ensuing tussle he falls over the side of the cliff and presumably dies. The claddaugh is stuck on the side of the cliff, and please note it is there, because there are 10 fucking shots of it so hey we'll probably see it again.
Back at home, Alex checks in on the kids. The son is asleep, the ambiguous Ellen is concerned. Alex is distracted by that stupid book falling off of a table. Spooky shot of a Browning poem about being all in love and whatnot, with their photo from dinner laying as a bookmark. She looks sad and crumples the photo, then sets it aside, I assume for her stalker scrapbook.
Next day, back to work! Everyone's all "weren't you almost killed last night?" and she's all "I got shit to do". Some 10 year old boy who got a voice modulator for a gag catalogue calls her and reads more Browning. Logically, Alex assumes it's her dead stalker Michael and freaks the fuck out. Not even death itself can stop this movie from ruining Browning for you! Alex calls the cops. Officer Backstory basically tells her to leave him alone because the guy is dead and seriously, he doesn't care at all. Alex books it over to the police station, and there's a really funny scene where Officer Backstory is utterly delighted to show her the stalker Michael's dead body. People haven't been this excited about a waterlogged dead body since Stand by Me. B-dog tells her to go see a shrink and she clears on out. She gets home and spends more time with her creepy son and that girl who is probably related to them somehow. Chris calls and says "hey, see a shrink" and she's all "blow me", and then her and the kids go to bed. This is boring, so let's get to the fun Poltergeist stuff already.
First, Alex has a bad dream. Grainy footage, lots of spooky whispery voices and creepy shots of Michael the Ghost. She wakes up hollering, but goes back to sleep eventually Next, she starts awake to see a vase wobbling on her bedside table. Alex, working to her strengths, looks confused. All of a sudden, the vase hurls itself at her! The stupid ghost has shit aim and misses, so she is able to get up and run thought the house screaming at her kids to follow her.
Alex takes her kids to hole up at Denise's house, who continues her excellent streak of advice by advising Alex to not see a psychiatrist about this stuff. She's got a better idea! She called the psychic teapot from earlier in the film, and they're taking a ghostbusting trip to Alex's. They wander about the house, bullshitting about spirits and energy and crap. The psychic looks like she's got some indigestion, but it turns out that it's actually psychic angst. Oh no! The psychic looks in a mirror, sees the ghost, and hauls like there's a fire under her ass. Turns out Michael liked Alex SO MUCH he came back to kill her so they could be dead together! Denise looks mildly sad, probably because she's not getting stalked by an undead hottie.
Alex uses her work stuff to hunt up Michael's grandma, which is probably against the law, but off she goes. So, let's meet Grandma! Here's where the movie gets briefly awesome: Remember the dead mom he wouldn't shut up about? Alex looks exactly like Michael's dead mom! The dude just wants to bang his mom! LAST MINUTE OEDIPAL PLOT TWIST! Hell yes!
Alex has another meeting with the psychic teapot, where we learn that Alex needs an object that belonged to Michael in order to cast his spirit out or whatever. The psychic gives Alex a magical scroll that will defeat the ghost, but not the smog monster which no doubt appears in the sequel to this fine film.
Alex goes home and preps the scroll, more shit moves around, spooky rustling blah blah blah. She gets a call on her phone from the girl who may or may not be related, and oh no, the kids are headed towards the cliff where Michael died to hunt snails! Somehow the kids spend 7 boring hours chasing snails. It's finally dark, and the ghost throws a branch in front of them to trip them. They're both knocked cold for no reason at all.
Super-boyfriend Chris gives Alex a ride out to save her kids. Check out this piece of dialogue, where the movie doesn't just draw attention to it's worst plot hole, but gleefully embraces it:
Chris: If this ghost is so powerful, and he wants to kill you, why hasn't he?
Alex: I don't have time to explain this to you!
That's right. It might be a Lifetime movie, but it's got some serious balls.
This awesome argument is cut off by the ghost taking Chris's advice by jamming down the gas pedal of his fancy lawyer car. Finally, a good call from the ghost!
If you cant guess how this movie ends, let me quickly sum it up for you: They get away, Alex runs around yelling, ghost shows up and menaces everyone, Alex cant use the scroll right, she finds that fucking claddaugh and waves it around like a sparkler, the ghost fizzles away like Alka-seltzer, wonder boyfriend proposes and everyone is totally OK with the prospect of an afterlife where murderous nerds with creepy crushes can manipulate time and space to kill you. END.
There were a few truly brilliant moments, especially when the movie basically told everyone who questioned its flaws to go fuck themselves, but for the most part it was simply unforgivable. Seriously, the person who edited this should have their thumbs cut off. You hear me, Arthur Tanowski? You don't deserve your fucking thumbs.
Star Power: 3
All three of these points are for Christian Campbell, the spooky poetry loving dingus, for appearing in the Reefer Madness movie musical. I knew I recognized you from somewhere!
A middling score for a middling film. No black cop, and a truly wussy male villain. However! There was a single mom protagonist and the part where they sat and ate cheesecake while commiserating over their ghost woes was pretty femmy. Also, Chris was obviously meant as masturbation material for lonely middle-aged single women who are waiting for their fantasy lawyer Adonis.
Overall, 13. What a boring piece of crap. I'll close by quoting one of my favorite poets, the immortal Ol' Dirty Bastard: "I don't have no problem with you fuckin' me, but I got a little problem with you not fuckin' me." English majors, take note: this guy knows how to get laid. Good day!