Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lady of the Manor Review: An All Star Cast And Quirky Ghost Story

Release date: September 17, 2021
Running time: 98 minutes
Written and Directed By: Justin Long and Christian Long
Starring: Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures), Judy Greer (Halloween Kills), Justin Long (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Luis Guzm├ín (“Shameless”) and Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions)

Past and present collide in this supernaturally funny buddy comedy when stoner-slacker Hannah (Melanie Lynskey) is hired to portray Lady Wadsworth (Judy Greer), a Southern belle who died in 1875, in a tour at Wadsworth Manor. Hannah, a hot mess, figures she can fake it —until the ghost of Lady Wadsworth appears! Lady Wadsworth tells Hannah it’s time to change her wild ways — and she’ll haunt her until she does — in this hilarious movie co-starring Justin Long and Ryan Phillippe. 

Lady of the Manor's main draw is the all star cast.  The cast is really stellar and some play very different characters than you are used to seeing them in, like Ryan Phillipe as Tanner Wadsworth.  Justin Long was enjoyably sweet as the professor of history and Melanie Lynskey was funny as a down on her luck slacker Hannah.  And although the story takes a while to get going, once it hits its groove it becomes a much more enjoyable experience.  After you get used to the characters and Hannah really starts to understand more about her strange situation, the film turns into a fun if random endeavor.  

However, I expected Lady of the Manor to be much funnier given the amazing cast.  The characters were quirky and the jokes were coming, but they just didn't hit like I was hoping to.  The film itself has cute and funny moments, but overall the experience was not laugh out loud funny.  And Lynskey's character is a little abrasive at the start of the film, and seems to make some very poor decisions.  And although the film does develop an interesting mystery in the middle, the resolution is just not as dramatic as I was expecting it to be.  Overall, Lady of the Manor has the cast and the characters to make for an enjoyable comedy, but it is let down by the writing and initially awkward story.  Now, as I mentioned, the middle of this film is the best part as the comedy starts to hit its groove and Lynskey's character becomes much more fun to watch.  And the ending is not bad, just not as impactful as I expected it to be.  But the film is a fine first effort from Justin and Christian Long, but it could have been so much more.

Lady of the Manor has an all star cast and quirky characters, but the overall slow story and hit or miss humor make this a ghost story that might not stop your heart. 

Rent it.

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Lady of the Manor is available in select theaters, digitally, and on demand on September 17th. Available on Blu-ray and DVD September 21st.  

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