More than a year after its first twirl at Sundance, this Amy AdamsEmily Blunt dramedy finally shrugs its way into theaters, and it feels almost like an afterthought. A film about sisters who go into the crime-scene clean-up business, its a muddled mess: terrific performances (from Adams, especially, as the exhigh school cheerleader now at the bottom of the pile) buried beneath contrivances and clichés, not to mention Alan Arkin cast yet again as the foul-mouthed gramps dispensing four-lettered advice to a troubled youngster (Jason Spevack, as Adamss son, wholl lick anything and anyone). Director Christine Jeffs, working with Megan Holleys screenplay, renders the light and dark as a muddy shade of sitcom-pilot gray. This has the makings of a great Showtime seriesfeels a bit like Weeds, but with cleaning fluid instead of bong water. Too bad whats intended to play as funny (girls and gore) stumbles into slapstick; whats meant to play as profound (girls and dead-mommy issues) sinks into the overwrought. Yet another willful, comically tortured indie coated with Hollywoods happy-ending sheenor perhaps, at this point, its simply hard to buy the perky Adams and pretty Blunt as schlumpy losers trapped in the bland flyover with an Oscar-winner stuck in rerun mode.
March 23-May 7, 2009