MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife’ Delivers Big, Inconsistent Laughs

LetsKillWardsWifeFeat

Film: Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife
Starring: Donald Faison, Patrick Wilson
Directed By: Scott Foley

Following a long tradition of comedic films about murder that never find the right groove, Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife is an inconsistent romp that works more often than not.

Ward is a full-grown man with a decent job, a beautiful new child, lifelong best friends whom he sees regularly, and a wife he – as well as everyone else – cannot stand. She is a mean, snobbish, and overly-protective woman who seems to only find pleasure in making others miserable. Everyone wishes she were dead, including Ward, but everyone assumes they will be stuck with her for the rest of their lives. That is, until she pushes one of Ward’s oldest friends a bit too far and ends up dead on Ward’s kitchen floor. There are no screams, nor any cop cars. In fact, no one complains at all. The wicked witch of this fictional suburban neighborhood meets her fate and not a single person seems to be upset.

But what do they do with the body?

Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife is a black comedy with the most devious of plots. The friends, who rely on one another from the go without a moment of hesitation, decide they will get rid of the corpse that used to be Ward’s wife instead of contacting the proper authorities. Of course, no one really knows what to do in such a situation, so a slew of mistakes and darkly comedic conversations soon follow, including a lively debate on what method of disposal the group will use to rid themselves of their dear friend’s other half. None of the options are necessarily easy, but it’s something that must be done to ensure they all continue to live the comfortable lives they know so well.

You can probably piece together what happens as the story continues to unfold, but what you might not be anticipating is just how often the big laughs land. Many films have attempted to put a lighthearted twist on murder, but more often than not those titles have lacked the consistency needed to make them a thoroughly entertaining experience. Most titles burn out before reaching their climax, let alone the credits, but Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife somehow finds a way to keep you engaged from beginning to end. I think a lot of it is owed to Patrick Wilson, who more or less portrays the leader of the group once Ward’s wife meets her fate. His straight-faced approach to what is without question a horrible situation to find yourself in is something that works to deliver laughs again and again.

Scott Foley not only appears as a supporting character in the film, but he also serves as the film’s sole writer and director. This is rather surprising when you consider the type of work that has made Foley a household name, but it works so well you walk away wondering how his comedic abilities have not been leveraged before now. It’s not the perfect script by any means, but it finds original ground in familiar territory. Likewise, the direction is admirable even though nothing stands out as particularly memorable.

If the film has any major flaws it’s that the second half doesn’t move with the swiftness of the first. The buildup to Ward’s wife meeting her fate is over before you know it, but the buildup to the circumstances at hand taking a toll on various members of the group is drawn out for seemingly no other reason than securing a longer runtime (the final length is 81 minutes). Had things maintained their momentum it would be hard to take issue with even the weakest scenes, but as is there are several moments that drag on a bit too long for their own good. This also causes the humor to slip, which in turn makes everything feel even longer.

Though I am almost certain there is a finite number of people who will enjoy its pitch black sense of humor, Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife is an often laugh-out-loud funny look at the bonds of friendship in the face of murder. It delivers exactly what the title promises, and it does so in a way that rarely loses steam. Patrick Wilson steals the show, but without support from Scott Foley, Donald Faison, and James Carpinello the entire thing would be a bust. I believe anyone who has fallen in love with the wrong person should see this film, as should those who believe they have the best friends in the world, but don’t blame me if you walk away feeling as if you and the people you trust the most should start committing crimes.

GRADE: B+

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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