“Careful What You Wish For” aims to be a light erotic thriller about the affair between an older woman and a younger man set against the backdrop of a bucolic Southern vacation town. Unfortunately, the film, written by Chris Frisina and directed by Elizabeth Allen (“Aquamarine”), reinforces a troubling worldview of domestic violence victims as scheming opportunists.
The story about a blond vixen, Lena (Isabel Lucas) and her affair with an innocent high school student Doug (Nick Jonas) is fairly straightforward — girl meets boy, girl has rich jerk husband (Dermot Mulroney), girl and boy sleep together anyway.
Jonas has the wide-eyed naif down but doesn’t possess an iota of sexual charisma that might inspire a married woman to stray. Perhaps it’s mere proximity that does it — they are next-door neighbors. While Doug bumbles his way through a misguided first love, there’s a larger scheme at play that doesn’t reveal itself until the last second. Everything that comes before is rote and by-the-book, from the groan-worthy innuendo-laden puns to the two-dimensional cookie-cutter characters, it’s a color-by-numbers thriller that’s flat. The only thing interesting about “Careful What You Wish For” is how it holds up a mirror to our culture but can’t see itself in the reflection as it reinforces dangerous ideas about victims of abuse.
‘Careful What You Wish For’
MPAA rating: R for some sexual content/nudity and language
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood