By Clint Morris
George is her sarcastic self. Mason is still a cheeky womanizer. Daisy is still high-maintenance and dressed for success (or is thatâ€¦ some sex?). Roxy still wears the police uniform proudly. And Rubeâ€¦. Wait, whereâ€™s Rube!? What the fuck Patinkin! A gnawing itch has provoked an escape plan from this series too!? Does this guy change his mind more than his clothes – -or what!?
Granted, the â€œChicago Hopeâ€ and â€œCriminal Mindsâ€ early departer may have left his phone-off-the-hook for good reason â€“ for as much as our reaping friends have stayed the same, theyâ€™ve also changed. And not for the better. Patinkin may have just snuck a look at the shoddy script for this before mouthing â€˜Noâ€™ to his agent over lunch.
A tongue-in-cheek black comedy that encompassed as much thrills as it did chuckles, Showtimeâ€™s â€œDead Like Meâ€ told of Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth), a discontented college dropout, who is killed by a toilet seat that falls from the MIR space station on her first day at a temp agency. Upon death, she is recruited for a team of grim reapers – undead who mix among them and take people’s souls just before they die. Patinkin played Rube, the leader of the reapers, who George is always at loggerheads with.
The direct-to-video film sequel is set five years after the events of the series. Rubeâ€™s gone, and his replacement is a slick business named Cameron Kane (played by â€œLostâ€ charmer Henry Ian Cusick). Kane couldnâ€™t give a hoot about helping the newly-dead â€“ and his attitude starts to rub off on Daisy (Sarah Wynter replacing Laura Harris) and Mason (Callum Blue). Meanwhile, George (deep-voiced Muth) is about to re-connect with her sister Reggie (Brett McKillop) after her boyfriend is seriously injured in a car accident and George is commissioned to reap him.
I usually like Stephen Herekâ€™s films. He did â€œBill & Tedâ€™s Excellent Adventureâ€ and â€œCrittersâ€ â€“ two films considered by many to be cult classics. He also did a lot for Disney in the late 80s and early 90s â€“ films like â€œDonâ€™t Tell Mom The Babysitterâ€™s Deadâ€, â€œThe Three Mustketeersâ€, â€œThe Mighty Ducksâ€ and â€œ101 Dalmationsâ€- all good studio fare. He also did the sensational â€œMr. Hollandâ€™s Opusâ€, starring Richard Dreyfuss, in the mid 90s. When it came to light, fluffy, sometimes feel-good fare there was nobody better than Stephen Herek.
One thing heâ€™s proven here though, as the director of the â€œDead Like Meâ€ movie, is that heâ€™s not good at directing sequels â€“ especially sequels that are made on the cheap.
Besides the fact that most (still canâ€™t work out why Laura Harris didnâ€™t return to play Daisy – – does she really have anything else better to do?) of the cast return, this isnâ€™t the â€œDead Like Meâ€ we remember. Not even close. Itâ€™s much more melodramatic than sarcastic and darkly funny. It also feels tired â€“ from that very first frame it just feels off. Itâ€™s also been filmed in Montreal, not Vancouver, and you can tell â€“ not even Georgeâ€™s parentâ€™s house looks the same. It used to be a big sprawling Waltons-style house, now itâ€™s a narrow brownstone. And â€˜Happy Timeâ€™, Georgeâ€™s place of employment, is now a high-tech looking office â€“ it just looks wrong. And you really miss seeing Der Waffle Haus, the place the Reapers usually meet up to get their daily work-order â€“ not to mention waitress Kiffany.
Itâ€™s hard to say what, or whom, is mostly to blame for this unaffecting thing but itâ€™s probably mostly to do with the fact that the people behind the film had no association with the series â€“ in fact, I doubt many of them have even seen it. They may have read the back of the DVD sleeve before rolling film on this, but evidently thatâ€™s the extent of their gained knowledge.
Thereâ€™s a couple of nice scenes between George and her Sister, and also some funny moments with Georgeâ€™s eccentric boss, but by-and-large this is the weak diet version of the full-flavoured cable series.
The commentary is probably about the only extra worth bothering with – but on the other hand, Herek and Muth do do a lot of back-slapping in it, so you might want to spare yourself the torture if you didn’t enjoy the film.
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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.