Careful What You Wish For casts Nick Jonas as Doug Martin, an affable teenager who arrives with his parents (David Sherrill’s Brian and Kiki Harris’ Emily) to spend the summer at the family’s small-town cottage – with the arrival of new neighbors Elliot (Dermot Mulroney) and Lena (Isabel Lucas) paving the way for Doug’s illicit affair with the latter. There’s virtually nothing that occurs within the entirety of Careful What You Wish For that the majority of viewers won’t see coming from miles away, as scripter Chris Frisina seems, for the most part, has crafted a flabby and uninvolving storyline that seems to have emerged directly from a template for erotic thrillers (which makes the movie’s toned-down, PG-13 approach seem all-the-more baffling). It is, as such, not surprising to note that there is exceedingly little here to get invested in, with Jonas’ competent yet decidedly less-than-charismatic turn as the bland protagonist compounding the pervasively tedious atmosphere (ie Jonas’ generic performance ensures that Doug is impossible to sympathize with or root for). And given that the viewer is always about a hundred steps ahead of the characters and plot, Careful What You Wish For only grows more and more interminable as the narrative’s various “twists” start to emerge – with the movie’s midsection, as a result, containing little in the way of watchable elements. The anticlimactic finish ultimately cements the film’s place as a thoroughly bottom-of-the-barrel cinematic endeavor, and it’s certainly impossible not to wonder what drew the always-compelling Mulroney to this second-rate material.
* out of ****