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Why is this man smiling?

It's surely not because he co-stars in Over Her Dead Body, one of the worst romantic comedies I've seen Paulrudd in a decade. It may even be worse than Music & Lyrics, and that's saying something.

There are many horrible things about OHDB, and if you want to learn about them you can see my review of the movie, which should be online Friday. But here's one random thing that bugged me. Cute Paul Rudd is wooing a psychic (Lake Bell) who is being hounded by the ghost of his dead fiance (the truly dreadful Eva Longoria, who needs to be shipped back to Wisteria Lane immediately). He brings her a present, a book of short stories by David Foster Wallace, because he sees the psychic has a copy of Infinite Jest lying around and assumes she's a fan. She confesses she only got 10 pages or so into it - that's further than most people did, actually - and that she just leaves it around so people will think she's smart.

Note to the screenwriter: Nobody thinks you're smart if you have Infinite Jest lying around. The nineties are over, for God's sake! They'll just immediately assume you're a pretentious jackass, one who's completely out of touch with the literary world, and they'll know you never made it all the way through that 1,000 page primer on self-indulgence. Throw around a little Dave Eggers or something if you simply must convey trendiness and substance.

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Phoebe Flowers

Dude, Dave Eggers is pretty hopelessly '90s, too. What about your stupid boyfriend, Jonathan Safran Foer? Or one of those other endless Jonathans?

(Plus you know you totally love "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.")

Connie

Actually, Eggers is not totally 90s. I was thinking of What is the What, published in 2006, which is supposedly even better than A Staggering Work of Yada Yada Yada. Was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Time, Salon and a slew of newspapers called it the best book of the year...

Phoebe Flowers

God, you're so hopelessly mainstream. You know what you should really start covering? Self-published books!

Brett Bayne

Is it possible you just didn't UNDERSTAND "Over Her Dead Body"? Perhaps the psychosexual subtext and allegorical references were beyond you.

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