(director: Arie Posin; screenwriter: screenplay and idea by Marc Klein; cinematographer: Brendan Galvin; editor: Zach Staenberg; music: ; cast: Joey King (Tessa), Kyle Allen (Skylar, Kim Dickens (Vickie), Celeste O’Connor (Shannon),  John Ortiz (Mel), Diany Rodriguez (Mrs. Duffy), Donna Biscoe (Doris); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; Robbie Brenner, Andrew Deane, Joey King:  Paramount Players; 2022)

“In the end the movie stinks more than it thinks it does.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Arie Posin (“The Face of Love”) directs a maudlin romantic supernatural drama that tries to be like Ghost, as its Gen Z-er heroine Joey King reaches out from beyond the grave to try and find her deceased lover. Marc Klein’s corny screenplay, based upon his idea (whose naive male lead seems to be screaming at us that “love never dies,” and when dead we see his spirit can live again), tries to get the YA viewer to believe this nonsense actually means something. Also, at its mid-point it delivers an awkward out of place sci-fi twist to move it from being just a love story that proclaims without ever proving it that “Every love story is a ghost story.”

In a small coastal town in the east, the aspiring
photographer, the high school senior, Tessa (Joey King), an orphan living with folks who adopted her, meets on the cute the hunky member of a visiting high school rowing team, Skylar (Kyle Allen), at their empty local theater screening of the 1986 French art film by Jean-Jacques Beneix, “Betty Blue.” It’s a film without subtitles. When it becomes apparent Tessa can’t speak French, the French speaking Kyle jumps at the chance to translate for her. When they lose contact after the movie, she reunites with him later in the summer when taking pictures at a rowing meet.

They end up spending the summer together as a couple. When Skylar is killed in a car accident, where she was injured as a passenger, the bereaved Tessa, who seems bugged,
believes that Skylar is reaching out to her from “the in between”–supposedly a rest spot for the dead somewhere between heaven and earth. This was basically the same plot used in Patrick Swayze’s star vehicle Ghost (1990)–speaking of a rip-off.

The pic goes non-linear as it veers back and forth between flashbacks of the past with the present (and we retrace the events of the 182 days after the tragic accident). None of it is plausible. None of it seems more than a plot ploy to reunite such an appealing couple even if that can’t logically happen without some kind of other worldly twist.

It’s a generic sci-fi romance film, with an unbelievable syrupy conclusion, one that stagnates (goes on for far too long, and as far as I’m concerned could have had 60 minutes of its 116 minutes lopped off and the film wouldn’t have been any worse for wear). In the end the movie stinks more than it thinks it does.

REVIEWED ON 2/25/2022  GRADE: C-