A mixture of misplaced gallows humor, wildly over-the-top caricatures and a gimmicky use of animation combine to make “My Dead Boyfriend” one of the year’s more uncomfortable movie-going experiences.
It starts out with a vaguely intriguing premise, though: Meandering Manhattanite Mary (Heather Graham) comes home after being fired from her temp job to find her live-in boyfriend of only a few months (John Corbett) dead in a recliner in front of the television, still cradling the remote control in his hand. Once the police arrive at her shabby East Village apartment and begin asking questions about him, Mary realizes she really didn’t know much about this guy at all.
So she sets out on a quest to determine not only who this mysterious man was with the quirky name of Primo Schultz but also what to do with his ashes, which she carries in an urn in her purse for lack of a better place. Turns out he was far more interesting than she ever could have imagined. If only the same were true of the movie itself.
Anthony Edwards, directing only his second feature ever (and his first in over two decades), makes tricky tonal shifts without much grace and favors annoyingly perky rock music to punctuate transitions between scenes. Dark comedies are hard; sharp writing is crucial. Here, the characters in Billy Morrissette’s script are all wild, bohemian types: the promiscuous best friend (Katherine Moennig); the angry punk rock girl (Tina Huang); various wisecracking drag queens; and whatever Gina Gershon is doing as a vampy, heavily accented art gallery owner.