Most spouses talk through their problems when the marriage hits a rocky patch. Occasionally, however, you’ve just got to duct-tape your husband to a toilet to convince him not to run off with a hot blond twentysomething. That’s the takeaway from Cheryl Hines’s antivalentine, which pits a career-obsessed lawyer (Ryan) against an estranged mate (Hutton), sneaking away to Paris with his girlfriend (Bell). Several flowerpots to the noggin later, he finds himself adhered to the commode and engaging in some impromptu couples therapy. Everything seems beyond repair, until a burglar (Long) ties up both of them and turns the place into a weekend party pad. There’s nothing like being imprisoned with your former sweetheart to rekindle a dying flame.
If you’ve seen Hines as Larry David’s wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm, you know she’s a deft comedian. Yet none of her natural wit is evident in the filmmaking (her key direction was apparently “Shout even louder now”), and Hines’s strict fidelity to her late friend Adrienne Shelly’s excessively theatrical script takes precedence over everything else. Serious Moonlight has neither enough bite nor enough heart to sustain it as a female-revenge-fantasy-cum-romantic-comedy; even its “shocking” switcheroo and faux-edgy moments seem remarkably frivolous and flavorless.