Don and Mona Champagne seem to have everything they want. A beautiful house with a swimming pool in a good neighbourhood, an expensive private school for their two children and a good business. Mona even has a book with the life goals of the entire family: the ‘Storybook’. When Don hires the attractive Dusty as saleswoman, he starts an affair with her, what distracts Don from Mona’s goals. When Mona finds out about the affair, she does everything in her power to maintain their ‘Storybook’ life.
Home Sweet Hell is a comic drama, however the humor can be hard to find. Usually the jokes are flat, anything but funny. The leading roles are for Katherine Heigl and Patrick Wilson. Heigl is mainly known from the hit series Grey’s Anatomy and many romantic comedies like 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth. On a sidenote, those were films I really liked. In Home Sweet Hell Heigl plays the neurotic perfectionist wife Mona Champagne. She puts a lot of time in creating and maintaining her perfect little family, by setting life goals and educate her children. Patrick Wilson, who has done many different types of films, plays the husband – Don Champagne – and is less involved in the education of his children. Don Champagne, who constantly has the same annoying smile on his face, has a busy job in his own furniture shop. Another important role is played by Jordana Brewster, which is mostly known for The Fast and the Furious franchise. Brewster plays the sexy saleswoman where Don starts an affair with. Though her role is quite limited, she plays the role of Dusty pretty nice.
It’s already clear from the beginning that the perfect life of Mona and Don Champagne, really is not so perfect. Mona comes off as an autistic perfectionist who only functions normal as long as she and her family have the perfect family. When she discovers the affair of Don we see how far she can actually go. The absurd actions of Mona Champagne however, are the best things the film has to offer. Without any effort and feelings she proceeds to psychopathic actions. These moments with Mona are the most comical ones, but you do need to have this kind of humor. On most occasions, however, it is more absurd and implausible to find it truly funny.
It is also a shame that the supporting cast weren’t used that often. Some could be labeled as pretty funny, like the characters of Jim Belushi and Kevin McKidd. But because we didn’t see them a lot, these characters were a bit meaningless and added little to the story. Belushi plays Les, a fellow salesman at Don’s furniture shop, who has some pretty funny comments sometimes. Like the times when he and Don talk about Dusty. McKidd plays the Scottish Freeman, a criminal who put a smile on your face every time you see him. He also had a funny ending. Freeman is one of the three criminals wants to run away from. Had the creators used these two actors more often, the film was perhaps a little more amusing.
Jordana Brewster, who is currently best known for her role in Furious 7, plays in Home Sweet Hell a very different kind of character. In the beginning Dusty seems pretty harmless and nothing more than the new, sexy saleswoman. But many ‘moviegoers’ know that this does not stay that way. With seducing Don she hopes to blackmail him for a large sum of money, but she works for three heavier criminals, which she tries to escape from. Dusty is therefore the only character in the film where you can have some sympathy for. This is totally not the case with Don, who is laughing on the wrong side of one’s mouth almost the entire film! One might pity him, but even that is too much for me. Don comes off as a scared, spineless softy and if you’re stuck with a woman as Mona, you wonder how those two became a couple in the first place!
In the black comedy Home Sweet Hell Jordana Brewster is, with her supporting role as the sexy Dusty, the most sympathetic character and gives the film some credibility. Scenes with Katherine Heigl are the most comical ones, especially when the perfectionist Mona proceeds to psychopathic actions. However, these scenes are mostly too absurd to actually start laughing out loud. Unfortunately, Home Sweet Hell is a film whereof the funniest and best moments are already put in the trailer, which makes it somewhat unnecessary to watch the film. A film of 98 minutes is now on the short side, but for this film that is even too long. The film does have a sort of open-end, with the last living criminal after Don Champagne.