Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife

Many of the people reading this review will, at one point, have been annoyed with someone so much that they wanted to kill that someone. Maybe it was a parent, or a spouse, or a teacher. Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to plan it out, and think about how you could get away with it. Or maybe you talked with some friends who also have a mutual disdain for the individual. Hey, I don’t know: maybe some of you even went through with it (although I hope not). Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife takes that premise and follows through with it, often to hilarious results.

We have an ensemble cast here, almost all of whom are on-screen at the same time. In all honesty, I can’t even remember most of their names. I know Ward (Donald Faison), because it’s his wife, Stacy (Dagmara Dominczyk), who winds up dead. And I know David (Patrick Wilson), because Patrick Wilson is the most famous person in this film. Oh, and there’s Geena (Amy Acker), who is married to Tom (Scott Foley), because Foley also wrote and directed, and Amy Acker is, well, Amy Acker. That’s actually a good chunk of the cast, and really the only important characters.

Everyone hates Stacy, probably because she’s presented as the worst person possible. She says and does the worst and meanest things that you can think of given the situation, and by the time she inevitably dies in this film, you’ll be glad. The male characters talk about killing her, but only one of them goes ahead and does it. It winds up being … kind of an accident, although the accident doesn’t kill her, so he deliberately finishes the job. Now Stacy is dead, and everyone has to figure out what to do with the body.

Nobody in this film reacts like you might expect if someone was murdered and you had to dispose of the body. There’s very little shock, and far more acceptance than one might expect. “Oh, you killed her? Well, I wanted to do that, too, so it’s okay.” I mean, Stacy was an awful person, so it’s understandable, but the complete lack of human compassion is startling.

That doesn’t get in the way of the laughs, though, which come from how the situation is treated. There’s some funny dialogue, too, but most of the humor comes from how the characters react at each turn, as well as some of the situations they get into. The film’s light tone meshes well with its rather morbid subject matter. Sure, some of the laughs are coming from feelings of awkwardness — this is kind of a weird and uncomfortable film, after all — but there are genuine laughs thrown into the mix, too.

Outside of that, Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife is a pretty straightforward film whose eventual message is that, yes, this could actually make everyone’s life better. Like I said, it’s a pretty morbid movie once you get past the deadpan way with which everyone treats the situation. Obviously the film isn’t actually telling you to go out and kill someone who makes your life miserable, but perhaps getting away from that person might be a less drastic way to help improve your life. Let’s just assume the “murder” bit is metaphorical, shall we?

Despite not having an A-list cast, the actors in Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife blend well into their characters. Sure, the film doesn’t exactly require a lot of stretching or depth to the performances, but a cast you don’t know particularly well is actually kind of beneficial in making the situation feel more realistic. Patrick Wilson, for example, stands out and almost doesn’t feel like he belongs simply because he’s more recognizable than most of the other cast members.

One half funny, the other half morbid, Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife is a movie that takes the premise of “What would happen if we killed someone everyone hates?” and runs with it. The results are unlikely to surprise you, but the complete lack of empathy and human compassion from the cast will. It’s kind of awkward, kind of funny, and kind of depressing, but it never stops being fun, and I wound up having a lot of fun with this film. It proves a success of a feature-length directorial debut for Scott Foley, too, which is good to see.

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