Serious Moonlight a Dim Effort
Filming slain writer's script a fine sentiment, poorly executed
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 2:31 PM CST
Updated Dec 4, 2009 2:52 PM CST

(Newser) – When Waitress writer-director Adrienne Shelly was murdered, in 2006, she left behind the script for Serious Moonlight. Critics speculate that she might have made it work, but that hasn't happened:

  • "A wife duct-tapes her husband to a chair and tells him that she will make him fall in love with her again (and if she doesn't, she'll never set him free)," Mick LaSalle summarizes in the San Francisco Chronicle. "The banter is insufferable. The situation is frustrating. Audiences may begin to feel as if they're duct-taped to a chair."

  • "In essence," Sam Adams writes for the Onion AV Club, "Serious Moonlight amounts to a staged reading, an honorable but ultimately misguided tribute to a woman who undoubtedly would have done more with her own words." In addition, the whole thing comes off as " mean-spirited."
  • First-time director Cheryl Hines just can't handle actors Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton, writes Melissa Anderson of the Village Voice. "Ryan flails and Hutton screams through the powder-room tears and recriminations, performing as if they're doing dinner theater underwritten by Dr. Phil."
  • Hey, it's not that bad, writes Doris Toumarkine in the Hollywood Reporter. The script is "snappy," and Hines "moves the story vigorously," even if too much "strains credibility."