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Monday, July 17, 2006

The Lakehouse Movie Review

"The Lakehouse", 2006
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves
Directed by: Alejandro Agresti
Rated: PG for disturbing image and some language
Time: 105 minutes (aka FOREVER)

WARNING- there are almost always going to be spoilers in my reviews, because I can't make the distinguishing thing work between what's a give-away and what's not. So read on at your own risk if you're one of those whiney people who goes, "OOoooooHHHhhh don't tell me what happens!"

Let me tell you, I am known for being picky about movies. As I am a frugal girl, and the price of a movie ticket just keeps rising, I'm not going to go to a movie unless it's a matinee, and unless I'm pretty darn sure it's good. I usually check as many reviews as I can look at (I find "Rotten Tomatoes" a great site to check this on). I read all about the plot, weigh whether or not I seriously admire the actors, and well, you get the picture. My family and friends know that I consider a bad movie, a mediocre movie, and even slightly lame movies, simply a waste of my life. I will rent lame and so-so movies on Netflix, (and hey, if you join, please ask to be added to my buddies list. Email me for further details.) because then it's not costing me and arm and a half a foot to get in, and I can get up and move around during the picture. Another thing I am known for is the fact that I find it very difficult to sit through an entire movie without getting up. Or T.V. show ( big exception- LOST). Or dinner. Ok, I find it hard to sit in one spot for a long time at all. For lame-o movies at home, I can get up, maybe go make some tater tots, wash a load of laundry, do my toenails. At the theater, I'm effectively trapped because of my inherent politeness, which will not allow me to "Excuse me" my way across the aisle and make people contort into difficult positions to allow me by, more than once per show. I save it for a needed bathroom break.
I admit I didn't do my usual measuring before I went to see The Lakehouse. It reminded me, in full force, of why I do.
Plot idea, pared down to essentials- two people fall in love with each other through the mail, as they both live in the same house (guess where? You got it, the LAKE house) and are separated by two years. Time paradox lovey yummness. Goofy? Yep. Far-fetched? Totally. Do I have a good imagination? I do, so I could swallow it, if it was good.
I saw a preview for this movie sometime ago and I thought, hey that looks like a sappy, happy fantasy romance, right up my alley. I am a hopeless romantic, I admit it freely and make no excuses. The premise of The Lakehouse reminded me of Griffin and Sabine,
and I really enjoyed that series, so I thought, hey, how bad could it be? Plus there was the whole Keanu Reeves thing. The friend who went with me to The lakehouse said she'd go because the guy's not hard to look at for a couple of hours, right? Well, right in the sense that he's not hard to look at several years ago, wearing a long black trench coat and dark shades, flying all over the place as Neo. In The Lakehouse, he looks like he has been drinking a wee bit too much- puffy faced and unhealthy. Hint of a new chin coming in there beneath the wreckage of what was once a chiseled jaw. Sandra Bullock has a very cute haircut, I admit, but they both are stiff and unlikely, Not really people you'd want to fall in love with, or even people you'd want to hang out with.
They write to each other and stick the notes in the magical mailbox, showing (I thought) very little surprise when the box flag starts flipping up and down on its own. Somehow, and this is not really clear to me, they also share a dog. I admit, by the time the dog was introduced as a major player, I was rolling my eyes around fiercely and couldn't concentrate on the explanation. I had the center of the whole storyline nailed within the first ten minutes and was leaning over whispering to my friend what was going to happen, much to her annoyance and the annoyance of the other people sitting around us. But the point is, I was right. By the end of the movie (and 105 minutes was really, really long that day) I was leaning sideways in my chair, lolling over into the next seat, gasping for air and out of popcorn, my tongue hanging from my mouth as I tried to control my snorts of disbelief and that dang eyerolling.
Let me just point out a couple of bits of nonsense that made me hate this movie.
  • Neither of them acts really surprised that this is happening, or really questions how. It's like, wow, we communicate through, huh? Let's go for a "walk" together. (Walk means he sends her a map with his favorite places in the city- did I mention he's an architect whose father built the many-times-mentioned house?)
  • They meet, and dance and kiss, during the two years separating them, and he knows who she is, but not vise-versa. He not only doesn't try to get a toe-up on the relationship during this meetings, but he doesn't tell her in a letter that he was the dude she uncharacteristically started making out with in her back yard at a surprise birthday party a couple of years before. She figures it out on her own, but so slowly! Hello- stranger, birthday party, making out with said stranger under her boyfriend's nose- she doesn't remember the dude's name was Alex when she starts falling in love with an ALEX through the magical mail? Most women would remember that night vividly for, oh, well, at least... EVER, and remember it every time she met any schmuck named Alex immediately, for the rest of her life. She should have, with any tiny amount of womanness, immediately guessed, or at least hoped, that was who he was. HER Alex, of the magical mysterious birthday night, never seen again. There are a couple of other similar events, but I'm not wasting my life describing them. This was confusing enough, I know.
  • When he doesn't meet her at their set-up date, a dinner that he has waited for two years to go to (she just had to wait til the next evening- another problem for me, all the sacrifice is on the guy's part- none on hers here- he made the reservations 2 years in advance people,!) she throws a little hissy fit and says she no longer wants to communicate with him. Ok, come ON, now. She is having a supernatural experience that most people would die to have, and she's all, nope, no more, I'm going to pretend this never happened...? Nuh-uh! But that's exactly what she does. Nevermind that they have a love that transcends space and time, nevermind that most people might take this as a tiny sign that they are destined for one another, maybe have a little faith that this supernatural thing might mean they'll get over the bumps. Not her. She dumps the Mr. Right, As Told By FATE, and runs back to the boring boyfriend she cheated on once (with Mr. DESTINY, I remind you) already. Question- why does the boring guy love her, anyway? There is nothing apparently lovable about her when you see the two of them together.
  • The big dramatic plot twist was obvious to me, like I said, within ten minutes of opening credits. Ask my friend, she'll tell you I was right.
  • There is a side-story about Reeve's architect father that has seemingly nothing to do with anything else in the movie, except illustrate to us that he had a distant father and a difficult relationship with the guy. Join the frickin club, buddy. Nothing special there. And the guy who plays his father- oh i am not even going to look up his name- was like cardboard. He reminded me of a senior in highschool playing hamlet, with his "hearty", loud acting. No reason why his character sucks, just plenty of evidence that he does, and you're left wondering, why? Why was this even in here? BLAUGH!
  • Just one more thing- the two of them tell at least one other person about this extraordinary relationship- she her mom, he his brother, and they really don't even bat an eye. They're like nodding understandingly...ah yes, timewarp romance, letters through years, it all seems perfectly normal to them. PLEASE.
That's all. Go see it, if you're a masochist. There are 2 &s out of 5...

& the dog, who looks like a cross between Benji and a wolf, is cute.
& the house, although I'd never live in it because I have this thing about privacy, as in, I like people to not be able to see me 24/ pretty cool.


Blogger Dr. Joe said...


Guess what? I guess I'm an even greater romantic than you because I disagereed with the reviews and found it subtle and to my taste. Yes, I figured out the "mystery" of how he missed the date, etc. and saw that persons in the film reacted rather normally to abnormal events, but that only addded to the soft subtlety of the story.

I agree with you about living in that house, unless I spent a few thou$$$ on drapes.


1:48 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Well, you're just a softie, I could tell from your blog. HA! (Love your blog)
But there you go. I was wondering who they made that movie for, and here you are.
I'm glad you stopped by, Joe!

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there,

I can understand why this movie can be ridiculous to some people but I watched it for pure enjoyment and wasn't really thinking too much logically so it wasn't all that bad!

Haha, anyway I'm here to see if you can help you remember the name of the book that she left behind and he picked up at the train station?


8:53 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Missgum, the book was "Persuasion", by Jane Austen, if I'm not mistaken. At least she had good taste in books ;)
Thanks for stopping by!

8:52 PM  
Blogger Josh L. said...

This movie was so bad it took all I had to watch it. I think your review is great, I just happened upon your blog and stuck around... Sandra Bullock was looking damn good in it thought, that's all it had

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Chixflicks said...

I actually just liked the movie.

1:21 PM  

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