Lady of the Manor

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Comedy;
$19.98 DVD, $21.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout, sexual material and drug use.
Stars Melanie Lynskey, Judy Greer, Justin Long, Luis Guzmán, Ryan Phillippe.

The casually raunchy Lady of the Manor generates a moderate amount of laughs by turning a ghost story into a mismatched buddy comedy.

Melanie Lynskey stars as Hannah, a slacker whose life is upended when her job delivering weed leads her to the wrong house and an arrest on a false sex offender charge. Hearing her plight, the lecherous Tanner (Ryan Phillippe) hopes to seduce her by hiring her to dress up as a 19th century Southern belle to give tours at Wadsworth Manor, a historic home owned by his family.

Lacking the knowledge of the period, Hannah begins making up facts about the manor, which brings her into conflict with local college history professor Max (Justin Long). Meanwhile, her efforts to engage Tanner in a sexual liaison conjures the spirit of Lady Wadsworth herself (Judy Greer), the former proprietor of the establishment and Tanner’s ancestor who died in 1875.

Assuming Hannah is a prostitute, Lady Wadsworth berates her for her uncouth ways and begins taunting her during the tours, prompting Hannah to recruit Max to learn about why she would be haunting the place. When that doesn’t work, Hannah strikes a deal with Lady Wadsworth to learn about how to better portray her for the tours, which leads to them uncovering a long-buried Wadsworth family conspiracy with huge implications over the ownership of the manor.

Greer is quite effective as the 19th century lady aghast at the affectations of the 21st century, introducing an “odd couple” dynamic into her relationship with Hannah and setting up the past-present dichotomy that drives the film’s central conceit. Phillippe is appropriately sleazy as Tanner, taking to the role so breezily he seems more like a generic dirtbag type from central casting.

Long co-wrote and co-directed the film with his brother, Christian, and the duo contribute a commentary track in which they discuss the challenges of making the film, praising the performances but also pointing out things they might have done differently in retrospect.

The Blu-ray also includes an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, 17 minutes of repetitive deleted scenes, and a five-minute outtakes reel.

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