Here After gets off to a captivating start that belies its romantic comedy premise. A bloody man (Andy Karl) is on his back talking about a sexual encounter from his teenage years. As things get darker and more violent, it is hard not to wonder what is going on. As it turns out, Michael has died after a bad breakup. He finds himself in Purgatory where he must find a soul mate. He soon finds the woman of his dreams, but there is a catch. She happens to be alive.
And just like that, Here After reveals itself to be a rom com. The premise is a neat twist on the “I have died and need to get to Heaven” subgenre, but within the first ten minutes, the film’s plot has been laid out. It follows the standard formula but there is a charm to it. The film is not the first to take audiences to dating in the afterlife, but its mix of the ghostly and real dating worlds remains interesting.
As with any rom com, things remain as engaging as the main character. Michael is not your typical lead from the genre. There is the confusion that would be expected, yet he also has a smarminess that never becomes annoying. He is funny and it will not be long before the audience is rooting for him. Michael – and therefore, Here After – constantly walks the thin line between frustrated and off-putting successfully.
The writing tends to get a pass in movies like Here After. The point of the movie is for the lead characters to find true love. Logical fallacies and even minor plot holes can be ignored. Regrettably, the last few moments of the film almost ruin all the goodwill. The final twist satisfies audience expectations, so even though it is predictable, it is perfectly acceptable. The lead up is pretty bad, however. Here After leaves audiences asking the types of questions they should not have to. It takes away from much of the fun of an otherwise cute romantic comedy.
Here After opens on demand July 23
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