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'Home Sweet Hell' plunges into a muddle of moviemaking

Katherine Heigl and Patrick Harris may have erred in appearing in the muddled comedy 'Home Sweet Hell'

If Katherine Heigl thought the unappetizing dark comedy "Home Sweet Hell" might somehow help her flagging film career, she was greatly mistaken. As for her co-lead, Patrick Wilson, there simply had to be better choices out there for the talented, appealing actor. "Home Sweet Hell" makes his other recent outing — the messy, not-dissimilar indie "Let's Kill Ward's Wife" — look good in comparison.

Set in a faceless suburb, the film finds weak-willed furniture store owner Don Champagne (Wilson) having a hot fling with his sexy new employee, Dusty (Jordana Brewster). But when Dusty tries to extort money from Don — or she'll tell his unstable, control freak wife, Mona (Heigl), about their affair — Don caves and informs Mona himself. With the frosty Mona's help, the tables are turned on Dusty and things go very bad very quickly. Not to mention very preposterously.

Add three skeevy thugs who are in cahoots with Dusty, a wry local police chief (Chi McBride) and Don's gone-to-seed co-worker (Jim Belushi), and the movie gets even more far-fetched, more violent and less competent.

It's tough to say what director Anthony Burns and writers Carlo Allen, Ted Elrick and Tom Lavagnino were going for with this twisted morality tale. Regardless, the result is a muddle of tired themes, bad behaviors and gruesome set pieces.

Why Don ever married the cruel Mona — she's racist, keeps a creepy "goal book" and schedules their minimal sex — is anyone's guess. As for how the couple's small kids are so randomly dealt with here, someone please call child protective services.

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"Home Sweet Hell."

MPAA rating: R for violence, language, sexual content, drug use.

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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