VIEWS ON FILM review of Home Sweet Hell4/10
In the tradition of 1998's Very Bad Things comes a black comedy that defies good taste, or a sense of decency, or even a flask of flat-out humility. Home Sweet Hell is said featurette and it has Katherine Heigl playing Mona Champagne, the impossible wife. She's saddled with a stern disposition and a bad case of obsessive compulsive disorder. Her husband Don Champagne (Patrick Wilson), is a timid pushover, a dude who she's got by the you know what (the derogatory term would be "balls"). Together, they do rotten things in an even more rotten vehicle. This is ninety- eight minutes that screams paycheck malaise or some sort of unnecessary notoriety. Home Sweet Hell with its stars thumbing their nose in a Hollywood power play, is definitely "hell" to sit through.
Supposedly, this is something that hasn't been released in theaters yet and for good reason. Everything on screen seems hasty or rushed, like it was pasted together over a weekend of maligned debauchery. First timer Anthony Burns directs from a script by three writers and he lets the camera demean all of his actors/actresses from top to bottom. The plot sickens the pit of your stomach. It involves infidelity, an act of blackmail, and some gruesomely detailed murders. Don is a furniture salesman and he is married with a beautiful wife plus two kids. He hires a knockout associate (Dusty played by Jordana Brewster) and eventually has a torrid affair with her (Donny boy isn't getting enough sex at home, the horror). When Dusty supposedly becomes pregnant with his child, she demands twenty-five thousand dollars from him. He then buckles, tells his discerned wife, and chaos rears its ugly head. Their by the book marriage needs stability so they devise a plan to take care of the problem (I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). When Dusty goes missing, one cop handles the investigation but is highly oblivious to what's going on. He offers his business card. Wow that's really putting your foot down (oh and its got a new design, gimme a break).
Basically, this is an early candidate for worst film of the year. You know something has gone afoul when well known movie stars team up with a director who doesn't have so much as one other film making credit to his dossier (2010's Skateland). In the arena of acting, Patrick Wilson has played similar characters before (Little Children comes to mind). But he has never come off as more pathetic or dumbfounded. You feel sorry for him without any sympathy. He feels out of place with this performance in a sometimes quirky comedy. And he is only matched badly by Heigl who continues to make lousy decisions in her career. Her line readings seem to be buried in 4/4 time, like a strained musical composition. Lately, her newest foray into TV territory has blossomed with State of Affairs. Her current film resume however, is "D.O.A." The wake is tomorrow and the funeral is destined to occur shortly.
All in all, with a juvenile script, a desperate side role for James Belushi, and a clear, direct-to-video stench, Home Sweet Hell doesn't deviate from cliches, it glorifies them. If disposing a body in heavy rainfall is new to you, well you've obviously never ventured into the realm of bad cinema. Oh and if you haven't caught a Forensic Files episode, poisoning a victim via a strong drink might cause a level of hindrance. Bottom line: Seriously avoid this stink pot. The reading of the ingredients on a shampoo bottle might help you pass the time in a more constructive way.