It’s the new year, which means everyone’s favorite fake holiday, Valentine’s Day, is right around the corner. Since the death of horniness in movies and the rom-com’s revival being mostly limited to streaming, theatrical releases around Valentine’s Day have become very fraught.
Last year’s heart-day releases did include Magic Mike’s Last Dance, but also Your Place or Mine, the Reese Witherspoon-Ashton Kutcher rom-com that had negative chemistry. I am hoping Netflix surprises us with the Glen Powell rom-com that is actually sexy, Hit Man, or Jennifer Lopez comes to her senses and drops the This Is Me…Now film a couple days early, but we have one guaranteed rom-com release in theaters on Valentine’s, and that is…Lisa Frankenstein.
We are going to test the appeal of Katheryn Newton, Diablo Cody, and one of the Sprouse twins by pinning all our Valentine’s box office hopes on a movie about a girl f-cking a corpse. I…actually…am sold? Diablo Cody’s writing can be hit or miss, sometimes trending too cute to tolerate, but the last time she dipped into the horror space it was for the excellent Jennifer’s Body, and here she is working with Zelda Williams—daughter of Robin—and the Eighties teen movie styling is kind of perfect. The dialogue is anachronistic, as one would expect from Cody, but the visual details are GREAT.
Is it a problem I had to google which Sprouse twin plays the dead guy? Maybe! It’s Cole, alum of Riverdale, looking very different with the dead guy makeup and missing Jughead’s dark hair. Lisa Frankenstein looks a little bit like someone asked, “What if Billy Butcherson got to be the hero of his own story?”, and I don’t hate that. It looks exactly like my kind of weird, with vibes somewhere between Early Burton and The Burbs, but I fully acknowledge this will not work for a lot of people. I am bracing myself for an inevitable round of “romantic movies are dead again” headlines when the Valentine’s Day box office crashes because we’re pinning our hopes on weird teens and, er, Madame Web.
JLo, please. Do the right thing. Release This Is Me…Now early. We need it!