Review: ‘Unforgettable’

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the cruelest of them all?

That would be Katherine Heigl, who has gone from being Knocked Up to wearing 27 Dresses to being the villain in the generic thriller Unforgettable. As Tessa Connover, Heigl channels the likes of Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest as if she were “Cruella de Chanel.” Prim, proper, compulsive, demanding, almost too precious. If she were to tumble down a flight of stairs (which she does!) she wouldn’t break. She would get even.

Tessa is readjusting. Her husband, David (Geoff Stults), has kicked her to the curb and has taken up with Julia (Rosario Dawson), blogger extraordinaire, and a woman with a troublesome past she keeps guarded. How could David do such a thing? Well Tessa didn’t plan on her husband leaving the bulls and bears of Wall Street and relocate to his old family homestead in southern California and pursue his passion – a micro-brewery startup. That wasn’t in the marriage agreement. To love and cherish, in sickness and in health, and with a great 401K plan.

Alas, he did and she’s paying the price. You almost want to feel sorry for her. Almost. Tessa is portrayed as the desperate ex still obsessing over her husband. David was her Prince Charming. Now David is with Julia, who she believes is her Prince Charming, as she is need of saving. That troublesome past she guards is Michael Vargas (Simon Kassianides), her abusive ex-boyfriend. Her moving in with David comes just as the restraining order against Michael elapses. What are the odds? For this thriller about even.

Unforgettable has an in medias res beginning with Julia, battered and bruised, being questioned by police about her past relationship with Michael. She is perplexed when the detective shows her pages of messages she and Michael exchanged on Facebook. Baffled still when he presents a few personal possessions that were taken from the murder scene.

Murder!

Cut to six months earlier and we see Julia leave her job in San Francisco to move in with David. He has shared custody of Libby (Isabella Kai Rice), so there is a feeling out process between Julia and Libby, and Julia and Tessa. With Tessa’s helicopter parenting style, where school functions and Libby’s extracurricular activities have identifiable Facebook pages, Julia acknowledges that she doesn’t use the social network. This admittance gives Tessa the idea to catfish Julia’s ex with the intent that the deception will help reunite the family. Once the trap is set it is just a matter of the audience waiting until the manipulation leads to physical violence.

From catfish to cat fight in 100 minutes or less.

Denise Di Novi, who has an impressive producing background with the films Edward Scissorhands, Crazy Stupid Love and several Nicholas Sparks adaptations, takes to the director’s chair for the first time and it shows. Unforgettable isn’t what I would call it. Tessa may think David is Sleeping with the Enemy and that it is her Basic Instinct to be Obsessed. One would think so, but this thriller is forgettable (that’s what you are) every which way. Credit to Heigl and Dawson for not breaking into laughs through one particular scene where they talk about getting physically violent. That was soapy as they come. Even the actual clawing and hair-pulling is a let down. All that Zumba and Pilates and organic foods you would expect a better tussle.      

Unforgettable is like an unwrapped burrito left in a car with sunlight penetrating the front window. It may look appealing when you get behind the wheel, the flour-wrapped tortilla tempting you to take a bite. Don’t do it. It’s a Fatal Attraction that will only lead to Misery.

Director: Denise Di Novi
Writer: Christina Hodson
Cast: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Isabella Kai Rice, Simon Kassianides, Whitney Cummings
Rating:
R (for for sexual content, violence, some language, and brief partial nudity)
Running Time:  100 minutes

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