Film

Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife Is a Vacuous, Unfunny Black Comedy

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Mean, emasculating, and overbearing, Ward’s spouse Stacy is a cheap boardwalk caricature of an abusive wife lacking only hair rollers and a cranium-splitting frying pan. So you know it’s totally OK to kill her! She’s a party ruiner, lunch despoiler, and a bad mom with near sociopathic self-absorption, and Ward’s three best friends constantly joke about her murder.

But when she catches Tom (writer-director Scott Foley) on an adulterous phone call, he really does kill her. The test of real-life friendship is probably whether or not you’d be willing to help a buddy hide a dead body, which implies the kind of deep, empathic bond found between combat soldiers or siblings. But although Ward and their friends and spouses prove instantly willing to help get rid of the corpse, nobody exhibits much empathy.

They all gather in kitchen aprons to bleed and dismember Stacy’s body in the bathtub with the self-satisfied casualness of suburbanites trying to light a gas grill, instead of recoiling with horror — or, at an absolute minimum, exhibiting the fearful anxiety of accomplices to murder.

It’s a bleak axiom of black comedy that everyone is, at core, a psychopath, and Foley goes to unfunny lengths to exhibit how much better their lives are after Stacy is dead. It’s a murder that solves infidelities, rekindles sexual flames, and ultimately offers the happy promise of romance; the film is as vacuous and undeserving of regard as any of its characters.