Title: Life After Beth
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jeff Baena
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Matthew Gray Gubler
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins
What It Is: Zach Orfman (DeHaan) is devastated by the death of his girlfriend Beth (Plaza) dies of a snake bite while hiking one day. He can’t shake it. It’s got him in complete depression. That is until he discovers that Beth isn’t exactly dead. You see shes undead or something. Doesn’t matter all Zach cares about is Beth is back and he couldn’t be happier, but Beth’s parents Maury and Geenie Slocum (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) have put some restriction on what and when Zach can see Beth, but if Hollywood has taught us anything it’s that nobody puts baby in a corner! Zach breaks the rules but doesn’t realize he’s made a terrible mistake in doing so, given Beth’s unpredictable nature. One moment dolice and calm the next a ravenous horn dog with a penchant for smooth jazz. If this is what life with Beth is perhaps life without her would be ideal.
What We Think: Aubrey Plaza continues to impress no matter the material. And here the material isn’t much. DeHaan tries to be charming but instead comes off as whiny, no fault of his own it’s the way he’s written. Plaza takes a very weird character and turns her into a force in this one, and the supporting characters are no all that interesting due to poor build. For example Gray Gubler is wasted as Zach’s security guard wanna be cop brother Kyle. While Paul Riser and Cheryl Hines play their mother and father who are inconsequential to us. Life After Beth suffers from apathy. You just don’t care about the characters and their danger doesn’t feel all that real.
Our Grade: C-, Plaza has made some really good decisions thus far from Colin Trevarrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed, Damsels in Distress or her excellent bit parts in Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Monster’s University. It’s going to be great watching her star as well as that of Dane Dehaan’s glow even brighter and Life After Beth is a stumbling block for them, and certianly one they can overcome. It’s an okay film, but it’s disorganized scene composition from the onset holds this thing back.