A rom-com this generic and misogynistic in 2021? Okay then! Here After has probably the most annoying romantic protagonist I can recall seeing recently, and that is before even getting to the strange plot. Things start off with a fourth-wall breaking story about a sexual experience with a redhead, recalled by Michael (Andy Karl). Doe-eyed Christina Ricci as Scarlett is actually interviewing Michael about the way he died. When trying to catch a flight, Michael misses the ramp for the highway and gets abruptly killed by a zooming truck.
Now, Michael is stuck here in some in-between. He can still spy on the world of the living (like when his parents find porn in his sock drawer), but if he wants to progress, Scarlett provides his only option. Souls must cross over in pairs, and Michael needs to find his soulmate posthaste. His first stop is an afterlife bar where he quickly strikes out—accurately, a girl tells him “your misogyny overwhelms all other charms.” A speedy dating montage is disastrously dull. It does, however, have the sole laugh of the movie, a date with a ventriloquist bummed that she wasn’t allowed cross over with her dummy. A date with a man has Michael asking “how about those Knicks” in a very backwards-thinking moment, which feels practically homophobic. He will try anything to get out of this hellish existence, including dating a man? This should have been cut completely.
He turns to a fellow dead single man, his Uncle Angelo, who has more bad news for him: over here, there is no suicide, masturbation, or urination. Angelo spends his days reading philosophy and spying on people from earth. In maybe the second most offensive part of Here After (though at this point I was starting to lose count), Angelo and Michael sit in a woman’s locker room observing numerous naked ladies. Michael, who gets distracted, then compares the ass of a woman to be as mesmerizing as a black hole. Angelo tells Michael later on that “I hope I come back as a huge handsome dildo.”
In a way, I was reminded of the excellent Reese Witherspoon movie, Just Like Heaven, though in that one she was simply in a coma and not dead. If you ran Just Like Heaven through a tasteless, diluted direct-to-video filter, Here After would pop out. I loved seeing Christina Ricci pop up as a heavenly being. Though the movie itself is lacking, Ricci is precious. She is used so sparingly that every time her character pops into the fray, I was immediately more interested.
Alas, the big missteps in Here After are too numerous to count, including taking well over an hour of its two hour runtime to get into the romantic setup. It feels like the movie should have started here, and cut out all the sleazy horny dialogue. Like Michael in the movie, I felt barely anything at all while watching. His described emotions as “like fucking the world through 3 really thick condoms” should tell you everything you need to know.
Here After looks for love when it releases On Demand everywhere on July 23, 2021.