The trailer for the dark comedy Serious Moonlight, written by the late Adrienne Shelly and helmed by Cheryl Hines, in her feature directorial debut, has dropped, and it neither rankles, connects nor particularly registers as anything more than a mid-level femme-programmer. The film centers around a career woman (Meg Ryan) who
kidnaps artfully detains her husband (Timothy Hutton) when he tries to leave her; Kristen Bell is the other (younger) woman, and Justin Long is a scuzzy interloper of some sort.
No harm, no foul, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of real, churned-up emotion here. This is just a sort of frothy domestic revenge fantasy for the white equivalent of the Tyler Perry set, no? With maybe a pinch of the arthouse crossover audience that helped make 2007’s Waitress a respectable hit for Fox Searchlight. And all the AARP-ers that keep Henry Jaglom employed. Not judging, just saying. I actually enjoyed The Deal, but it’d be more interesting to see Ryan navigate away from unlucky-in-love roles and tackle something really nasty — a bitch on wheels like Kevin Spacey’s character from Swimming with Sharks, say. Otherwise, there’s only small degrees of difference that separate this from more desultory tripe like My Mom’s New Boyfriend, which couldn’t escape a direct-to-DVD sentencing despite the presence of Ryan, Antonio Banderas, Colin Hanks and Selma Blair. Which brings us back to this film’s release pattern… Serious Moonlight will be available to 50 million households through Magnolia’s Ultra VOD program in early November prior to its December 4 theatrical bow.