Both Katherine Heigl (think Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction”) and Rosario Dawson help make this thriller watchable. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
How about a little obsessively-hairbrushing scorned wife with your popcorn? (Obsessive Hairbrushes, by the way, would be a good name for a band.) In “Unforgettable,” we have Tessa (Katherine Heigl), whose hair has the gleaming, sheetlike sheen of someone with a leeetle too much time on her hands, vs. Julia (Rosario Dawson), the sweet-natured and clearly doomed new girlfriend of Tessa’s ex-husband David (Geoff Stults). In the middle: Tessa and David’s young daughter Lily (Isabella Kai Rice), who’s endured more than her share of teeth-gritted hairbrushing, poor tot. This won’t end well, will it?
Directed by Denise Di Novi, “Unforgettable,” with its disappointingly bland title, is a glossy B-movie and knows it — it works best when embracing its high-class trashiness. Tessa, we quickly learn, is not your garden-variety ex, but a truly evil psycho (think Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” with a hair-straightening treatment), and it’s a miracle that Lily’s pet guinea pig makes it through the movie unboiled. Meanwhile, the unfortunate Julia — who just wants to start a new life, far away from an abusive man from her past — has no idea what’s she’s up against; clearly she hasn’t watched enough movies.
That “Unforgettable” is watchable, at least before it disintegrates into generic violence near the end, is due to the touches of wit in the directing, and to the two lead performances. Dawson brings a warmth to Julia that makes you root for her even as you’re face-palming, and Heigl’s Tessa (who wears crazy-lady caftans at home, and strokes her computer — central to her nefarious schemes — as if it were a black cat) is an absurdly over-the-top creation who’s fun to watch. “Do you have anything organic?” she hisses to Julia, who’s just trying to serve Lily dinner, and you know this isn’t a fair fight. Run, Julia! And take that guinea pig with you!
Movie Review ★★
‘Unforgettable,’ with Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Sarah Burns, Whitney Cummings, Isabella Kai Rice, Simon Kassianides. Directed by Denise Di Novi, from a screenplay by Christina Hodson. 100 minutes. Rated R for sexual content, violence, some language, and brief partial nudity. Several theaters.