Serious Moonlight review (DVD) ?

An uncomfortably bizarre film with an identity crisis; Serious Moonlight will leave you seriously wondering whether or not the filmmakers have entirely misinterpreted the original script.

Meg Ryan plays a busy and successful lawyer, who comes home early to discover her husband (Hutton) preparing to leave the country with his younger mistress. The spurned wife proceeds to hatch a plan to get her errant hubby to recall all the reasons he loved her in the first place – by tying him up and taking him prisoner.

Now, in order for a plot like this to work it can only really be done in one of the following two ways: either a silly marital-strife comedy, in which the characters happily resolve their differences in the end, or a camp Misery-style woman-scorned movie. Serious Moonlight vaguely appears to attempt both and achieves neither; the tone is muddled and the actors themselves seem confused by their requirements, as in an instant Meg Ryan goes from displaying distraught heartbreak to "kooky" comic-timing with bewildering results.

In addition, both characters are completely unlikable and occasionally even nasty, as Hutton spews venomous insults at his wife, just minutes before the film takes a ridiculously unconvincing about-turn.  Meg’s wife meanwhile is as creepy as they get and repeatedly knocks out her spouse by hurling domestic objects at his head. Are we really supposed to care what happens to these characters? It’s billed as a “touching comedy that will have you smiling from start to finish”, which might just be the most libellous film endorsement ever used; I’m not sure I’ve ever come away from a movie with such a pained or perplexed look on my face. Not recommended.

EXTRAS Just the trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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