Careful What You Wish For will be in Theaters, on iTunes, and On Demand June 10th
Starring: Nick Jonas (Goat, “Kingdom”, “Scream Queens”)
Isabel Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Red Dawn, Immortals)
Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Showtime’s “Shameless”)
Graham Rogers (ABC’s “Quantico”, Love & Mercy)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas, Romeo + Juliet)
Directed by: Elizabeth Allen (Ramona & Beezus, Aquamarine)
I did not expect to like this movie. I was okay with that, though, because I assumed I wasn’t the target audience. The audience seemed to be, in my opinion of the trailer at least, middle-aged moms that like a little sex in their suspense. I assumed it would be a generic, “steamy” thriller with bad acting. And the title and trailer don’t do a great job of making you think otherwise, but again, if that audience is women of a certain age then the trailer is perfect — just not for me. Careful What You Wish For is not what you think it is though, and it is, in fact, for me as I enjoyed it a great deal. So again, before going further in this review I must caution you not to be turned off by the title or trailer.
The first thing we have to get out of the way up front is Nick Jonas (Doug) and Isabel Lucas (Lena) are hot, like really hot. And they’re hot together. There’s plenty of eye candy regardless of which gender you’re attracted to. Now an important part of a film like this is that they need to have good chemistry, and they do. I was actually quite impressed with both Jonas’ and Lucas’ acting — I believe their individual characters and their relationship. Dermot Mulroney is no slouch in the acting department either. I have no gripes with anyone’s performances.
What I did have a problem with, however, was the voiceover bookending the beginning and end of the film. Like the first impressions the trailer and title give, the opening VO is another turn off. It didn’t seem to make sense for the film considering it was only used twice, and it establishes a coming-of-age story tone, which this movie is not. What Careful What You Wish For is instead is a sexy thriller (as I previously mentioned). But it is a sexy thriller that is also quite smart. Here’s a quick overview of the plot without spoiling anything:
During the Summer before his freshman year of college, Doug travels with his family to a lake house in a relatively wealthy community. He works at a local boatyard restaurant with his best friend who is constantly on the hunt for some tail. At the start of the Summer mysterious, extremely wealthy neighbors move in next to Doug’s family’s house. Eliot is a very rich and powerful man with a gorgeous blonde trophy wife named Lena. He hires young Doug to work on his sailboat while he’s out of town. Doug then starts an affair with the older Lena. There’s plenty of sex, violence, and suspense from there, but I can’t go into any more details without spoiling the movie. See the trailer:
I can say one thing, though: what happens next is probably not what you would expect. I had some guesses as to what would happen (as is normal when I watch any movies, much to the chagrin of my fiancé) but out of the three things I suspected, only one ended up being correct. That’s pretty good considering — and I don’t mean to brag — I usually sniff these things out within the first fifteen minutes (example: Shutter Island was a movie I wanted to love but it hinges on the twist, and I saw that coming a mile away).
Some of this thriller is fairly generic, and there are some painful pieces of dialogue in the writing. There are moments where characters speak in sexual innuendos that are meant to be difficult for the viewer to parse out (I think) and clever, but they’re too “on the nose.” For example, Eliot talks to Doug about the boat’s engine referring to it as “she” while using phrases like “stick it in there hard,” all while Lena can be seen in the background between the men. That is paraphrased a bit, but critical viewers will pick up on these little bits of cliche innuendo throughout.
So I really expected to dislike Careful What You Wish For because of all the poor first impressions I was given, but I ended up liking it quite a bit in the end. It is not a breakthrough movie by any means and won’t end up on any top 10 lists, but it is good. I would advise not to go into this movie judging it too harshly, thinking you know exactly what it is going to be like. That is to say don’t have the snobby mindset of a reviewer like myself. I believe most people will enjoy this movie, and if not for the mystery & suspense then for the unbelievably attractive lead couple.
Joe Portes is a writer of Fiction and Essays, as well as a Creative Writing instructor in Upstate New York. He has edited literary journals and online magazines where his stories, interviews, and reviews have also appeared. His work has been in or is forthcoming in the Indianola Review, Pitkin Review, and Free George Magazine among others. Aside from writing for the Pop Culture Beast, he maintains a blog at JoePortes.com where you can read about everything from teaching college freshmen, to his love of podcasts, to playing video games.