The die was for Jon Cryer way back when “Pretty in Pink” launched him in the movies.
He’d always be the doormat, the witty loser who never gets the girl.
All he had to look forward to was getting older and balder, and better character names than the one John Hughes saddled him with — “Ducky.”
His niche has served him well as second banana all those years on “Two and a Half Men.” And here he is, still lovelorn and comically sad in “Hit by Lightning.”
As Ricky, the balding 40 year-old chain restaurant manager, he laments to his BFF Seth (Will Sasso) that they’re the last two guys from their high school class to marry.
And even though he knows the odds are long, even though he’s a nonbeliever who drinks and swears like Cryer never could on TV, he prays to God that he will “Find my soulmate…before I’m hit by lightning.”
The answer might be eHappily, an online dating service. That’s where his profile, in search of his “heartner,” lures Danita (Stephanie Szostak) into a date.
She’s beautiful, a “10,” and as Seth says, Ricky is just a “four” — even with that spray-on hair covering his bald spot. She’s nervous, a little on edge, but eager and into him. It’s only after the sex — MUCH later — that she blurts out that she’s married, that “My husband would KILL me” if she ever left, and that Ricky should help her kill him.
Ricky, in the film’s primary leap of illogic, doesn’t have to think twice before agreeing. Yeah, he’s that lonely.
It is up to the annoying lump Seth to set him straight. He shows him “Body Heat,” starring “Will Hurt, and Kathleen Turner, back when she still looked like a chick.” And “Wild Things.” This Danita is bad news, a regular “femme fatal.”
Such is the nature of the humor in this comedy, written and directed by Ricky Blitt.
Sasso, who once starred in TV’s “$#*! My Dad Says,” tries the hardest, playing the loser who doesn’t know he’s a loser, dragging the pal he nicknamed “Hog” (better than Ducky, sort of) out of his shell, then shoving him back in it when Hog crosses the line.
Szostak (“Iron Man 3,” “The Sopranos”) is mainly just a nervous pretty French face for Ricky to obsess over. This part called for a lot more Sofia Vergara.
Cryer sort of shrugs and bears it, the way he does on TV only with less sex and more profanity, and the chance of violence hanging over the proceedings as Ricky/Hog meets the husband (Jed Rees). He starts to wonder if the man is the monster Danita portrays him as, or if she’s just leading them both to their doom.
Not that the script ever makes us care. Slow-witted and slowly paced, with characters kept at arm’s length, our biggest concern is not whether Ricky will indeed be “Hit by Lightning,” but whether anybody will find a spark of life in this corpse of a comedy.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with gun violence, sexual situations, profanity
Cast: Jon Cryer, Stephanie Szostak, Will Sasso, Jed Rees
Credits: Written and directed by Ricky Blitt. A Phase4 Films release.
Running time: 1:25