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updated: 4/21/2017 6:10 AM

Katherine Heigl makes for forgettable villain in 'Unforgettable'

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  • Tessa (Katherine Heigl), left, becomes increasingly unhinged as she has to share her daughter (Isabella Rice) and ex-husband with the new woman in his life in "Unforgettable."

    Tessa (Katherine Heigl), left, becomes increasingly unhinged as she has to share her daughter (Isabella Rice) and ex-husband with the new woman in his life in "Unforgettable."
    Karen Ballard/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

  • Tessa (Katherine Heigl), left, sees her ex-husband's fiancee Julia (Rosario Dawson), right, as a threat, with her daughter Lily (Isabella Rice) caught in the middle, in "Unforgettable."

    Tessa (Katherine Heigl), left, sees her ex-husband's fiancee Julia (Rosario Dawson), right, as a threat, with her daughter Lily (Isabella Rice) caught in the middle, in "Unforgettable."

  • Video: "Unforgettable" trailer

 
 

Would anyone who works for an online business really not have a Facebook account? The toxic relationship thriller "Unforgettable" hopes viewers won't remember its pesky plot holes, but despite a mostly uninspired cast this predictable film eventually builds a campy momentum.

We meet a scarred, shaken Julia (Rosario Dawson) in classic noir style as police interrogate her about a murder she claims she didn't commit. Well, how does she explain all those Facebook messages she exchanged with the victim, her abusive ex-boyfriend?

The plot unfolds six months earlier, when Julia is leaving a job at an online storytelling company to move to San Francisco with her fiancÚ, David (Geoff Stults), and his daughter, Lily (Isabella Rice). Unfortunately, David's ex-wife, Tessa (Katherine Heigl), doesn't hide her contempt for her replacement, belittling her at every opportunity. When Tessa learns that her rival isn't on Facebook (there are such people, but in this context it doesn't make sense), she creates an account for her and contacts Julia's ex-boyfriend, setting in motion a lurid and ridiculous social media melodrama.

The film ramps up the horror of domestic tensions between and within families. Tessa, it turns out, has never been able to live up to the expectations of her upper-class milieu or of her demanding mother (Cheryl Ladd). Veteran producer Denise Di Novi, for her first feature as a director, observes two women buckling under enormous pressure.

It's too bad that Heigl isn't up to the demands of her role. While she exudes physical strength, her doe eyes lack the severity to make something truly threatening out of the kind of role that screen legend Joan Crawford could have performed in her sleep. The film's men are even less distinct, Stults is barely distinguishable from Julia's mildly sneering ex (Simon Kassianides).

Perhaps surprisingly, television veteran Ladd injects a bit of needed life into the film. But as Tessa's pathological machinations descend into a nearly slapstick violence, you wish for more vivid performances to fill out this live-action Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote battle.

"Unforgettable" borrows elements from film noir, Lifetime movies and slasher flicks and updates them for the internet age. But this forgettable thriller will simply make you remember other, better films.

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