HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Careful What You Wish For
HTS Overall Score:61
Elizabeth Allen’s rather poorly directed thriller, boringly named “Careful What You Wish For” comes to DVD with a whimper more than a bang. Playing out like a cheap knock off of those old 80s thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” and “Disclosure”, it runs the gambit of weak acting, cheap effects, and shoddy writing in ways that makes even Michael Douglas’s poorest efforts look great in this genre. Starring Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers), it proves that just because you can sing and have a good looking body doesn’t mean you can act. By the time the heavily hinted at (and completely ludicrous) ending comes about the viewer is left in a comatose like stupor that can be only described as horror inducing.
Nick Jonas is Doug, or Duggy as his parents seem so fond of calling him, a late high schoolish boy who is out with his parents in their summer vacation home to catch some rays and hook up with hot girls (at least according to his friend Carson (Graham Rogers). Things take a turn for the interesting when their rich new neighbors, Elliot (Dermot Mulroney) and Lena Harper (Isabel Lucas) move in the same day they arrive and offer to pay Doug to fix their boat for them. Elliot gives him some basic instructions and then runs off to do some business traveling, leaving Doug there to fix the boat and gawk at gorgeous wife Lena. One thing leads to another and soon Doug is way in over his head as the older woman seduces him and winds him around her little finger.
What seems like just a Mrs. Robinson scenario turns dark quickly, as Lena ends up killing Elliot after he supposedly beat her. Now Doug is forced to pick up the pieces and hide the boy before anyone can find out. Thinking he’s out of the clear, Doug’s world is turned upside down once more when an insurance investigator comes into town and starts questioning everyone, clueing the young boy into the fact that not everything is at it seems. Apparently Lena is fixing to rake in $10 million in insurance settlements if all is at it seems, but this new investigator feels that there is something else at stake, something that may hint at foul play and Doug is caught in the middle.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76553[/img]“Careful What You Wish For” plays out in a VERY generic and overly sloppy way. I would actually give the film a lower rating, but the movie is so hysterically bad that I have to give it props for getting away with it. It’s one of those situations where you know something is beyond redemption, but you still have to give a slow hand clap for the vigor and gusto that went into the making of the atrocity. There’s a sense of gleeful enjoyment that comes from watching the ludicrous plot points unfold that is mesmerizing, but horrifying at the same time. Nick Jonas may be trying to revamp his good little boy image by bulking up quite a bit and being a sex symbol, but his acting chops still say that he’s better off singing crummy pop songs for the Mouse House.
The movie ends up being horribly clichéd, and the actors can’t seem to turn in a decent performance, but the only thing worse than the performances is the actual dialog. We have that type of sleazy dialog where Doug is drooling over Lena only to be interrupted by Elliot who says such things as “Did you check her out?” (Talking about the boat, but sending Doug’s guilty mind over to his lusting over Lena), or “We should tag team her” (Instantly making Doug blush and the rest of the audience bang their heads into their remotes). Then there’s the wonderful dramatic moments where Elliot solemnly looks at Doug and tells him that he reminds him of himself. The seduction of the young boy is hysterically bad and their illicit rendezvous play out like a 13 year old’s fantasy more than anything. Then there’s the whole “twist” that happens about 2/3 of the way through the movie and Nick Jonas can only seem to take the news with a pouty huff that underplays the gravity of the situation. Couple that with the fact that there’s more than enough plot holes and unrealistic side characters (the Sheriff who lets Doug escape despite overwhelming evidence to his guild) and you have a recipe for a complete and utter disaster.
Rated R for some sexual content/nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76561[/img]“Careful What You Wish For” may not have been released in the U.S. with a Blu-ray release, but the 2.35:1 MPEG2 encoded DVD looks fairly good. Colors are solid with vibrant greens and sun drenched golden hues that give the beachside thriller a very nice look. The film tends to be a bit dark and ominous most of the time, with shadowy details and the like, but overall clarity is rather good. There is some macroblocking and an overall soft feel to the DVD, but nothing that really takes too much away from the picture. Personally I felt that long shots could have looked a bit better, but the fast motion macroblocking and overt softness kept the image looking just “good” instead of great.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76569[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track fares a tad better, with an ominous and heavy handed thriller type mix that is rife with LFE and the ominous overtones. The dialog takes up a majority of the legwork, but that is not a bad thing, as the rest of the heavy lifting is left to the afore mentioned “ominous” score. The surrounds get a hefty workout with the sounds of the creaking pier, or the water lapping at the feet of the happy couple coming through with pinpoint directional accuracy. The LFE is tight and heavy, adding lots of deep bass to the score as well as some very much needed weight to the rest of the effects, like the boat engine roaring to life, or the slam of a distant door thudding shut. It’s not an overly impressive track, but there is a nice layering of effects, score and dialog that leaves me wanting very little from the mix.
“Careful What You Wish For” is bad, laughably bad in fact. So much so that I have to give the film props for being that bad and getting away with it. So many clichés rolled into one film, and so much bad acting to boot. I actually feel kind of bad for Dermot Mulroney, as he gave the only semi passable performance in the whole bunch, and looks rather miserable doing so. Nick Jonas really needs to stick to teeny bopper music, because his first film doesn’t give me much faith in any future performances either. Sure the audio and video are pretty good, but with no extras (not that anyone was really begging for any behind the scenes with this failure), but it can’t get much worse than this. Definitely skip it.
Starring: Nick Jonas, Dermot Mulroney, Isabel Lucas
Directed By: Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum
Written By: Chris Frisina
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Starz/Anchor Bay
Runtime: 91 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Buy Careful What You Wish For DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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