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Christina Ricci Lounges Half-Nude in Otherwise Awkward After.Life

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After.Life
Directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo
Anchor Bay Films
Opens April 9

Somewhere in Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's awkward debut feature is a macabre and almost quaint Gothic mystery begging to be left alone. After blowing up at her boyfriend (Justin Long) over dinner, Anna (Christina Ricci) drives off and suffers a disastrous crash—then gets chatty on the mortuary slab. The funeral director (our friendly B-movie bear Liam Neeson) says she's a halfway-there soul that only he can hear, but what of the Deschanel-eyed spooky kid who thinks he saw her up and about in a synthetic-red slip? What might have played well as a multipage Poe rumination gradually gets pulled to bits by thudding Ricci-Neeson face-offs in the poster-ready funeral-prep chamber, and Long hissy-fits over being denied access to his would-be fiancee's body. There’s potential in the filmmaker's comfort with drawing out still moments and slipping into dark visions without drawing boundaries (and Ricci's ample naked lounging lends a certain Continental touch). All of that just as easily turns into dead air and, by the end, a revelation telegraphed so unremarkably that it's hard to enjoy—not to mention Neeson's missed opportunity for vamping it up a little, what with a script that has him calling the corpses in his charge "you people!"

 
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