Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Home Sweet Hell: the “Till Death” Part Can’t Come Soon Enough
Dr. Phil took a good look at Don Champagne’s marriage, he’d only be able to
offer his deepest sympathies. The same would also be true for a reputable
marriage counselor. There is no question who is the decision maker in his
family—his wife, Mona. Type A does not even begin to describe her. By now
Champagne is resigned to her bossing, especially after an infidelity explodes
in his face. “Happily” does not necessarily go with “ever after” in Anthony
Burns’ Home Sweet Hell (trailer here), which opens
today in New York.
Champagne has, he owes to Mona’s ambition and her father’s money, or so she
constantly reminds him. Frankly, he is mostly content managing their thriving
furniture store, but his home life is something else. Champagne must constantly
deal with relentless self-improvement projects and goal statements. Sex is
something that must be sparingly scheduled ahead of time, not that it really
matters, considering how emasculated he is.
is hard to judge Champagne too harshly when he allows his hot new employee to
seduce him. Unfortunately, Dusty turns out to be too good to be true. Facing
blackmail, Champagne confesses to his wife, who always keeps a cool head in a
crisis. Despite her understandable disappointment, she is not going to let some
saucy adventuress sabotage her happy home. Of course, Champagne is not man enough
to permanently fix the problem, but Madame Champagne is a different story.
Katherine Heigl and her lingering bad PR as Mona Champagne was a risky gamble.
Unfortunately, rather than earning credit for knowingly mocking her problematic
image, her shticky but joyless performance
is likely to add fuel to the hate fires. Patrick Wilson does not exactly do
himself any favors either as Don Champagne, the cringy doormat.
is also rather sad watching Jim Belushi stagger through the film as Champagne’s
shlubby assistant, Les. The underrated Belushi brother can be an effective everyman
with an attitude, but it has been a while since his best work in The Principal, Wild Palms, and Taking Care of Business. (It has also
been a while since Heigl’s best role as Steven Seagal’s obnoxious niece in Under Siege 2). Bizarrely, Jordana
Brewster takes the honors in HSH,
with her comparatively nuanced performance as Dusty—honest, she does.
is a black comedy without the black humor. It never embraces the gore or
mayhem required by midnight movie connoisseurs while the profoundly unappealing
one-note characters will give mainstream audiences the stiff arm. Not
recommended, Home Sweet Hell opens
today (3/13) in New York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Jordana Brewster, Katherine Heigl