By Chaz Lipp
The Lowdown: What happens when two good actresses are dropped into a predictable revenge thriller? In this case, not much.
Veteran producer Denise Di Novi makes her directorial debut with Unforgettable, a revenge thriller enlivened by leading ladies Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl. Unfortunately the plot is so predictable, there’s not much else to recommend here. Di Novi treats this pulp material (co-written by Christina Hodson, hot off the Naomi Watts dud Shut In) too seriously. What could’ve been trashy fun instead limps along as a barely adequate diversion.
Julia (Dawson) is set to marry David (Geoff Stults), a divorced craft brewery owner who shares custody of his daughter with ex-wife Tessa (Heigl). Julia’s attempts to bond with preteen Lily (Isabella Rice) are consistently undercut by the controlling Tessa. Turns out Julia is carrying a big secret: she was victimized by an abusive boyfriend, Michael (Simon Kassianides), who did jail time for his crimes. Once Tessa discovers that Julia’s social media presence is null, she spoofs a Facebook page and attempts to rekindle a relationship between Julia and Michael.
For 100 minutes of cheap thrills, Unforgettable isn’t the biggest time waster ever made. It plays like competent direct-to-video fluff. But the opening flash-forward to Julia in a police station, face bloodied, being accused of intentionally making contact with Michael spells out way too much. I kept waiting for a twist. Maybe Tessa will turn out to be remorseful of her actions and team up with Julia to stop Michael… Maybe Julia will figure out what Tessa’s doing, and somehow turn her misdeeds against her… But no. Nothing that interesting transpires.
Both Dawson and Heigl deserve better, but at least Dawson is given a somewhat rounded character to play. Heigl is saddled with the Glenn Close Fatal Attraction or Rebecca De Mornay Hand That Rocks the Cradle type of role. Only more one-dimensional than those examples. The only hint at complexity comes from Tessa’s relationship with her ice-cold mother (played with sly inscrutability by Cheryl Ladd). But mommie dearest isn’t utilized to full effect, however effective her sideline appraisal of the Tessa/Julia power struggle may be. Essentially Ladd’s character is here to set up a sequel that will almost certainly never happen.
Unforgettable images: Warner Bros.