“Dead Like Me” was an award-winning television show (2003–2004) with a cult following, so I am somewhat hesitant to report that I didn’t find much to recommend in Dead Like Me: Life After Death. Perhaps if I had watched the “Dead Like Me” television program and developed some feel for the characters, I would have found something to like in the made-for-DVD movie, but I doubt it.
I am a huge fan of Mandy Patinkin, so I understand the series might have had some appeal with him in a lead role. However, Mandy Patinkin is not in Dead Like Me: Life After Death, and I found nothing in any of the cast members to draw me in. The one exception is Cynthia Stevenson who plays Joy Lass, the mother of the protagonist of the “Dead Like Me” series and the movie.
In Dead Like Me: Life After Death, the direct-to-DVD movie released on February 17, 2009, Ellen Muth plays 20-something-year-old potty-mouthed, Reaper, Georgia “George” Lass. I couldn’t decide which was worse, the curse words she spewed or those grotesque, overblown lips the words spewed from. Someone needs to cut back on the lip injections and the cursing. But I digress.
The premise of Dead Like Me: Life After Death, is intriguing, I’ll admit. Reapers apparently walk among us and do us all a huge favor by removing the souls of people who are about to die, preferably right before they die, and help them move on to their afterlife. This seems to spare them the agony of a bad death, although this is not made clear. Much of the plot of Dead Like Me: Life After Death is unclear, and therefore, clumsy and somewhat disjointed.
The haphazard tale told in Dead Like Me: Life After Death, begins when a new Reaper leader appears in this particular community of Reapers after the other leader – who is never seen – inexplicably disappears. Under the new leader, Reaping just isn’t what it used to be, and the band of Reapers find themselves breaking the rules, all except George. She gallantly muddles through, trying to help a high-school student move on. But wait! Insert typical Hollywood coincidence here. That high-school student is the love interest of her disturbed younger sister, seems to be suicidal because 1. her boyfriend is a vegetable and 2. her sister is dead.
So, should George, who now operates in the human world, reap the boy? Should she reveal herself to her sister? And what should the Reapers do about the new boss?
Dead Like Me: Life After Death could have made for an interesting movie experience, but the plot gets bogged down in the tedious and unexplained, and the characters in Dead Like Me: Life After Death are unbelievable for the most part. Everyone seems sad, depressed, lost and hopeless. There is some humor, and parts of the Dead Like Me: Life After Death story are somewhat amusing, but I have to give Dead Like Me: Life After Death two thumbs down. Dead Like Me: Life After Death is not worth resuscitating.
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