CATEGORIES Reviews
Meg Ryan in 'Serious Moonlight'Based on a script by murdered actress-turned-director Adrienne Shelly and helmed by first-time-director Cheryl Hines ('Curb Your Enthusiasm'), who co-starred in Shelly's bittersweet comedy 'Waitress,' 'Serious Moonlight' has a back story that automatically generated a lot of interest.

According to several reviews, however, this dark romantic comedy doesn't quite deliver the necessary tone or laughs. As for the performance of the film's star, Meg Ryan, opinion is decidedly mixed.

Ryan plays a go-getting lawyer who arrives home one day to find her husband of 13 years (Timothy Hutton) planning to run off with his younger girlfriend (Kristen Bell). The jilted wife knocks him unconscious, ties him to the toilet and tries to argue him into reconciliation. A domestic face-off ensues, complicated by a degenerate gardener (Justin Long) who invites his drunken cronies in to ransack the house. What's not to like? Here's what the critics said: Meg Ryan in 'Serious Moonlight'Based on a script by murdered actress-turned-director Adrienne Shelly and helmed by first-time-director Cheryl Hines ('Curb Your Enthusiasm'), who co-starred in Shelly's bittersweet comedy 'Waitress,' 'Serious Moonlight' has a back story that automatically generated a lot of interest.

According to several reviews, however, this dark romantic comedy doesn't quite deliver the necessary tone or laughs. As for the performance of the film's star, Meg Ryan, opinion is decidedly mixed.

Ryan plays a go-getting lawyer who arrives home one day to find her husband of 13 years (Timothy Hutton) planning to run off with his younger girlfriend (Kristen Bell). The jilted wife knocks him unconscious, ties him to the toilet and tries to argue him into reconciliation. A domestic face-off ensues, complicated by a degenerate gardener (Justin Long) who invites his drunken cronies in to ransack the house. What's not to like? Here's what the critics said:

The Hollywood Reporter: "You could call 'Serious Moonlight,' snappily written by the late actress-writer-director Adrienne Shelly, a five-and-dime 'War of the Roses.' This is meant as a compliment, as the film, like its similarly themed forebear 'The Waitress,' is a rollicking, nasty ride into the disintegration of a marriage pairing spoiled, upscale spouses."

Variety: "Many women would probably like to duct-tape their unfaithful mates to a toilet bowl, but watching it happen isn't quite as funny as it sounds -- at least, not in 'Serious Moonlight,' actress Cheryl Hines' adaptation of the late Adrienne Shelly's screenplay. A less-than-frothy domestic showdown starring Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton, it owes as much to Edward Albee as to Nora Ephron, with an occasional nod to 'A Clockwork Orange.'"

Entertainment Weekly: "In 'Serious Moonlight,' Meg Ryan plays a lawyer who discovers that her husband (Timothy Hutton) plans to leave her for a young thing (Kristen Bell). So she does what any lawyer would do if she were Meg Ryan -- duct-tapes him to a toilet, then persuades him to love her again by dint of being Meg Ryan. (Ryan nearly breaks a sweat working so hard to charm.) There's a lot of yelling, cracking wise and cooing in this creepy rom-com."

Village Voice: "Ryan flails and Hutton screams through the powder-room tears and recriminations, performing as if they're doing dinner theater underwritten by Dr. Phil. The tonally weird black comedy throws in some 'Funny Games' -- and creepily echoes the circumstances surrounding Shelly's murder by a construction worker who broke into her office to rob her -- when Justin Long's local gardener shows up to burglarize the house, roughing up Ian and feeling up Louise."

'Serious Moonligh't trailer

indieWIRE: "Even in a goofy comic scenario like this one, a manic, unbalanced character such as Louise calls for true pathos and tangible neuroses, yet Ryan doesn't invest her with any gravitas. She's prefabricated, as is the movie around her, which has the enervating, even lighting of a sitcom and is seemingly decorated right out of a Crate and Barrel catalog."

Time Out New York: "'Serious Moonlight' has neither enough bite nor enough heart to sustain it as a female-revenge-fantasy-cum-romantic-comedy; even its "shocking" switcheroo and faux-edgy moments seem remarkably frivolous and flavorless."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "It's a pleasure to watch Ryan resurrect her trademark persona, a mix of perkiness and pique, as she flounces around the room. But it's shaded with a middle-age desperation that's half real and half chick-flick shtick. Hutton gives the movie a male rejoinder, loading hard truths about waning passions with some much-needed gravity."

Huffington Post: "One huge problem: There are no laughs. The dialogue is shrill and confrontational, with no real punchlines, and the pacing is beyond slack. Ryan and Hutton work at turning it into something more, but that's just not happening. The problem is clearly the screenplay. Unfortunately for the cast and director Hines, the script was obviously sacrosanct. And that sinks the movie."

The Star-Ledger: "But Ryan is merely grating here, and 'Serious Moonlight' is neither humorous nor even particularly edgy. As directed by 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' star Hines, a co-star in 'Waitress,' and apparently a recent graduate of the point-and-shoot school of filmmaking, it unfolds without a bit of style."