Movie Review: ‘Careful What You Wish For’

It would be easy to start this review by telling all the fans of Nick Jonas who wanted to see him in a movie, “Careful What You Wish For”. I wouldn’t call it a “terrible” movie, but Nick Jonas’ first lead acting gig has a plot that is loosely threaded, largely predictable, anti-climactic, and the film probably is not the best work of anyone involved; the acting is mostly OK, but stretches believably of the characters. It does have the elements of a decent story line that could’ve been really dramatic, but the tension never really builds; and when it does, it amounts to nothing.

Doug (Nick Jonas) and his best friend are starting their summer vacation with one thing on their minds- to meet women. But, when Elliot and Lena Harper (Dermot Mulroney and Isabel Lucas, respectively) move in next door to Doug, he gets more than he bargains for. Doug and Lena are instantly attracted to each other and begin a clandestine affair after Doug starts working on Elliot’s boat.

The movie changes gears a few times. At first, the tension comes from Doug and Lena potentially getting caught by Elliot, and what Elliot could potentially do if he were to catch them. The two are pretty careless about their affair, acting like immature teens, so it seems like they will get caught very easily. But, then suddenly that tension is gone, replaced by a cover up of another sort (spoiler: Elliot dies and Doug foolishly helps cover it up). Soon enough, their affair becomes difficult to hide as the Sherriff (Paul Sorvino) and other prying eyes start closing in on them.

I felt the movie was largely predictable. For example, it is painfully obvious that the lovers are not going to get caught by Elliot when he is right around the corner and the music is building like something is about to happen. It is on par with a Superman movie trying to make us think Superman is dead; can make one wonder why the writer(s) bother with that go-nowhere thread. On the other hand, when the two lovers are alone in her house and there is a window open in the background, if you’ve seen just about any suspense thriller or horror film, you will know to pay attention to that window. It is almost like the script borrowed some classic plots/twists and tried to piece them together in a new, yet ineffective, way. I will admit there was one twist that I did not see coming; it’s not that surprising of a twist in today’s day and age, it’s just not one of which I considered.

The ending is not very satisfying. It seems tacked on like something you would find at the end of the last episode of a TV series that got cancelled mid-run. Toward the end of the movie, after all the cards have been revealed, there is finally some real tension building and you are waiting for “the hero” to do something to try to “save the day”, but then it cuts to the future with a voice over of what happened next; which was basically zilch.

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