RENEE ZELLWEGER JODELLE FERLAND IAN MCSHANE BRADLEY COOPER
This film was completed in 2007 but never saw the light of day until 2010. Back when the film was rolling, Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Chicago, Cold Mountain) still had some respect attached to her name and was regarded as a box office draw. Three years and lots of bad movie choices later the once in demand, highest paid actress is a has-been. Case 39 has literally nothing going for it; especially since handfuls of other suspense thrillers have used the concept of possessed little girls to try and scare audiences into buying a ticket. Case 39 is a disaster of bad writing with Lifetime movie type performances. If you saw the film’s trailer you already know more than enough to realize that this movie is DOA.
Overworked social worker Emily Jenkins (Zellweger) is handed her 39th case. This one deals with reports of an abused ten year old girl. After Jenkins has the girl removed from the home due toher parents trying to set her on fire inside the kitchen oven, she petitions to have the frightened girl live with her until permanent foster care is provided. Her attempts at motherhood fade quickly as people begin to die around her and Jenkins realizes that this is no ordinary girl and the parents were just trying to protect themselves.
Even in 2007, how could Zellweger have looked at this script and imagined it to be a positive career move? Even a C-rate actress could have spotted a career hiccup here. The director Christian Alvert has nothing credible in his history, nor does the screen writer. The only thing Case 39 produced was an ongoing relationship between Zellweger and Cooper (A-Team, The Hangover), who seems to have found more fame than his award winning girlfriend. Cooper has only about three scenes in the film. McShane is no stranger to a bad thriller or horror film and also adds little life to the film.
At this point in her career Zellweger will have to search far and wide to find a role that can demonstrate her ability as an aging actress to venture into unfamiliar territory. With another Bridget Jones film in the works, Zellweger is in danger of being written off completely. Case 39 is a prime example of a big name actor trying to take a shortcut to a paycheck and it blowing up in their face. Zellweger even declined to do press for the film when it ran in a short release at the end of summer. It’s a snoozer movie that I am sure Zellweger would like to forget as much as we would.
Final Thought – Even worse than it looks.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael B. Woody