Adapted from Arthur Nersesian’s 2000 novel “Dogrun,” the dated, unfunny comedy “My Dead Boyfriend” causes the audience to ask not only “Why?” but also, “Why now?” It’s the type of indie film that might have played at a minor festival at the turn of the millennium, with the audience offering pity laughter for the cast and crew in attendance and the director waiting in vain for news of an acquisition.
Set in New York City in 1999, “My Dead Boyfriend” finds Mary (Heather Graham) getting fired from her job as a temp, then going home to discover her beau, Primo (John Corbett), has died in her living room. Unmoved by the death of a man she didn’t really like that much, Mary jokes with the paramedics and only takes Primo’s dog out under duress (i.e., a soiled kitchen floor). She begins to discover that the man she thought was a deadbeat poet was a celebrated artist who left behind a string of ex-lovers, while she spends the rest of her time sponging off her childhood neighbor (Griffin Dunne).
From its musical cues to its Y2K jokes, “My Dead Boyfriend” wears its late-’90s setting like a crushed velvet top but never manages to evoke any nostalgia or laughter. The script from Billy Morrissette — featuring disappearing narration, awful characters and no humor — is largely to blame, but director Anthony Edwards makes uninspired choices throughout, such as inserting random animated characters and allowing Gina Gershon to do a cartoonish French accent in a supporting role.
‘My Dead Boyfriend’
Rating: R, for language and sexual content
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood