ByJames McDonald, writer at
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

A guy gets more than he bargained for after entering into an affair with the wife of an investment banker. Soon, a suspicious death and substantial life insurance policy embroil him in a scandal.

I think many musicians who turn to acting get a fairly bad rap. Sometimes, depending on the script and director, they can give pretty amazing performances, such as Eminem in “8 Mile” and even Queen of the Divas, Mariah Carey, in “Precious.”

While Nick Jonas is known primarily as a singer and best known as the founding member of the Jonas Brothers, a rock band he formed along with his two brothers Kevin and Joe, he actually has a myriad of acting credentials, with appearances in TV shows like “Hawaii Five-0,” “Scream Queens,” and “Kingdom.” With “Careful What You Wish For” however, I have to give him kudos for actually wanting to reach outside the comfortable acting zone he has become accustomed to.

Playing secondary characters in the aforementioned TV shows, means that while his fan base will most certainly have their eyes on him, no matter how big or small his role may be, others will be less inclined to remember his performances.

Nick Jonas in Scream Queens
Nick Jonas in Scream Queens

While “Careful What You Wish For” utilizes the most conventional and hackneyed plot devices, director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum manages to keep the film moving at a brisk rate, never permitting the audience to stop and catch a breath, for fear that they will have time to actually analyze the illogicalness and absurdity of the entire plot.

When super geek Doug (Nick Jonas) and his mother and father move into their vacation home on beautiful Lake Lure in North Carolina for the summer, Doug’s plans involve working with his best friend Carson (Graham Rogers) at the local watering hole, and studying. What he doesn’t count on, is meeting his new neighbors, investment banker Elliot Harper (Dermot Mulroney) and his beautiful, much younger wife Lena (Isabel Lucas).

One day while Elliot is visiting with Doug and his family, his father mentions that he is a whizkid when it comes to boats and wouldn’t you know it, Elliot has just bought a yacht that is in need of repair. He asks Doug to work for him for the summer on his boat, time permitting, and he agrees. Naturally, Elliot travels a lot and it is then that Doug and Lena become acquainted. Of course, they fall for each another and begin a steamy affair.

Eventually, she informs Doug that when Elliot is home, he drinks a lot and physically assaults her, leaving her with bruises and black eyes. When Elliot arrives home early from a business trip, Lena, panick-stricken, calls Doug and when he arrives at her house, he finds Elliot dead. Lena tells him that he tried to attack her again and she was only protecting herself so when Doug states that they must call the police, she refuses, and herein lies the sameness and predictability factor that we have become so accustomed to with movies of this ilk.

No sooner has Lena told Doug she loves him that he helps cover up the murder, takes Elliot’s body out to his boat and makes it look like a fiery accident and then the police become involved when it surfaces that there is a $10 million dollar insurance policy that Lena stands to inherit.

The entire movie is ascertainable from the very beginning and while there have been other far superior films in the same vein, such as “Unfaithful” and “A Perfect Murder,” “Careful What You Wish For” never takes itself too seriously and because of this one, distinct factor, it prevents itself from rolling over into pretentiousness.

There is no real chemistry between Mr. Jonas and Ms. Lucas but they are both very pretty and in great physical shape so the movie gods proclaim they must be together. Paul Sorvino is sadly reduced to nothing more than a glorified cameo and Dermot Mulroney is criminally underused but the movie is elevated every time they appear onscreen.

As a psychological thriller, I have seen better but on the other hand, believe me, I have seen much, much worse.

In theaters and On Demand June 10th

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