Timothy Hutton is duct-taped to the potty, and Meg Ryan is just plain potty, in this posthumously produced Adrienne Shelly script directed by first-timer Cheryl Hines (who starred in Shelly's Waitress between Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons). Born of the grief-fueled determination of Shelly's husband, Andy Ostroy, to carry on the legacy of his late wife, who had completed several screenplays before her 2006 murder, Serious Moonlight has a backstory much more intriguingly dramatic than what's onscreen. When alpha attorney Louise (Ryan) discovers that Ian (Hutton), her husband of 13 years, is about to leave her for 24-year-old receptionist Sara (Kristen Bell), she trusses him up on the toilet of their country house, holding him hostage until he falls in love with her again. Ryan flails and Hutton screams through the powder-room tears and recriminations, performing as though they're doing dinner theater underwritten by Dr. Phil. The tonally weird black comedy throws in some Funny Games—and creepily echoes the circumstances surrounding Shelly's slaying by a construction worker who broke into her office to rob her—when Justin Long's local gardener shows up to burglarize the house, rough up Ian, and feel up Louise.
Ryan (left) confronts the other woman (Bell).
Opens at Varsity, Fri., Dec. 11. Rated R. 84 minutes.