Friday, March 14, 2014
Within 15 minutes of "Better Living Through Chemistry" movie vets will think they are in for a pale "Double Indemnity" or "The Postman Always Rings Twice" but Olivia Wilde ,a blond beauty, is not as sexy in white as Lana Turner nor is she as cold and calculating as Barbara Stanwyck . Sam Rockwell, as a pharmacist, is turned on to his pills by Wilde and soon they are having an affair, each cheating on their spouses, jokingly talking about killing her very wealth husband and running off together.
Halfway into the movie we know this isn't a film noire, aside from being filmed in beautiful technicolor, and it becomes a not so funny comedy which is hard to point the blame. The film was written and directed by Geoff Moore and David Posamentier with the screenplay being sharp with some snappy lines along the way eventually going astray and too many coincidences but the director doesn't bring out the best in his actors. Sam Rockwell with Michelle Monaghan as his wife, Ken Howard his father-in-law, Harrison Holzer as his 12 year old son, Norbert Leo Butz as a fumbling DEA agent, slightly 'off' and Ray Liotta as Wilde's husband are all good actors but only Liotta seems real in his brief scenes.
There is also a puzzling narration by Jane Fonda, who has one brief scene at the end, which seems completely out of place in the film.
"Better Living Through Chemistry" isn't a bad film but doesn't seem to have a point of view and is all over the place veering from comedy to farce to romance while whatever mystery the directors and writers hoped to bring to the family doesn't exist.