It says volumes about the state of Katherine Heigl’s on- and off-screen persona that casting her as a shrieking, shrewish control freak with murderous tendencies seems a bit on-the-nose.
The dark comedy Home Sweet Hell is about the marriage from hell threatened by the homewrecker from hell until the wife from hell settles on getting rid of said homewrecker.
Obvious and jaw-droppingly bloody, it still gives Heigl her funniest role in years.
Patrick Wilson plays Don Champagne, who might have been a happy-go-lucky furniture dealer, if not for his wife, Mona. They have a luxurious home, luxurious cars and two privately schooled little Stepford Kids. All because Mona keeps a scrapbook – “Our Goals.”
“Focus,” she preaches. On the business plan, on vacation plans, on planning, in general. Don has had the fun and spontaneity beaten out of him.
“We will have sex on the ninth,” she barks. “As scheduled.”
Then he hires a new saleswoman. Dusty, played by the always kittenish Jordana Brewster, appreciates attention.
And she likes her dresses tight.
“She must have a little harlot in her,” Mona growls. It doesn’t matter that she’s suspicious, Don tumbles for the fatal attraction on his payroll in a heartbeat.
Next thing you know, there’s blackmail afoot. And Don’s salesman/confessor (Jim Belushi) is no help. Only Mona is up to this challenge. She watches The First 48. She knows how this is done. And once things get going and get out of hand, it’s obvious she’s watched Dexter, too. She’s entirely too cold and organized.
“I’d write it down for you,” she snaps to Don, listing the necessities of body disposal. “But I’m just covered in that girl.”
Covered … in blood. And guts.
Heigl throws herself into this with gusto, and Wilson, a good actor often too stiff in comedies, takes grinning cluelessness to new heights.
There are redneck co-conspirators and complications that don’t really complicate anything. The story takes several lurching turns.
But there are laugh-out-loud gags that will make you gag. And Heigl? If you’ve quit on the blonde diva, you may have given up on her too soon.
Exclusive: AMC Mesquite
Home Sweet Hell
Director: Anthony Burns
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Patrick Wilson, Jordana Brewster, Chi McBride, Jim Belushi
Rating: R (violence, language, sexual content and some drug use)
Running time: 98 mins.