Psychological thrillers have a penchant for dipping their toes into melodrama. The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window attempts to satirise this tendency. Unfortunately, the result is overwrought and tedious.
Written by Tresca Mallon
A woman who has faced a recent tragedy, and developed a drinking problem, thinks she has witnessed the murder of a woman across the street. She will go to any lengths to figure it out, even if no one else believes it really happened.
After the huge success of The Good Place, expectations were high for Kristen Bell’s next vehicle. In addition, the director of one of the greatest camp parodies, Heathers, Michael Lehmann was attached to direct. It seemed like a perfect recipe. Unfortunately, it’s something of a disaster. Playing a trope, Bell is completely limited to a stock character role and is uncharacteristically unfunny. This has as much to do with acting as the incredibly stunted dialogue and plot. There was an opportunity for campiness or melodrama with the character but the direction is terribly off as Kristen plays the character straight as an arrow. There was one laugh out loud moment when Kristen’s head thrusting against the huge pile of corks on her kitchen counter while having sex with Rex (Benjamin Levy Aguilar). The flatness of the protagonist puts a huge onus on the supporting cast to add some kookiness to the comedy and unfortunately very few achieve it successfully. Detective Lane (Christina Anthony) is perhaps the only character who evokes the occasional belly laugh as she has the frustratingly uncooperative cop archetype down to a tee.
The somewhat funny concept of the Woman in the Window is horribly marred by the unnecessary ten-episode length and a less than nuanced execution. While many of the actors are giving what they can to the roles there seems to be a lack of coherent direction. With jokes that rarely land, skit-like scenes rapidly followed by an attempt at hollow melodrama, this misguided attempt would have been better suited to a two minute SNL sketch.