THE LAKE HOUSE

2 Stars
Year Released: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 98 minutes
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Felix 2006: Felix of the past, this is Felix of the future, I’ve sent this note in your mailbox to warn you about this new movie called “The Lake House” which is now out in theaters. “The Lake House” is a film in the vein of “Sliding Doors” in which two people in a two year gap send letters to one another through this mailbox and for no reason it shows up later on, and they fall in love through this correspondence.

Felix 2004: It’s nice to see letter writing being used as a romantic plot device in the age of the internet, but that makes no real sense. How can they know about one another, and still be able to receive these notes and fall in love? Is it a magical mailbox? How does Reeves character know he’s not talking to some rapist like on chat rooms? Does Christopher Lloyd show up at any time? Can they manipulate time beyond that? Do they explain the mailbox?

Felix 2006: No, but it is the reason for this gimmicky review. It’s meant to be farcical. The plot makes no sense, though, because you’d have to put logic on hold throughout the entire film. And that’s almost impossible with the far-fetched story, but because it’s Keanu Reeves, and Sandra Bullock the writers really aren’t expecting you to pay attention. Did I mention Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock re-unite once again?

Felix 2004: Sandra Bullock? She hasn’t made a good movie since “Speed” and it’s her debut! Seems to me that many stars are doing this sort of thing these days, re-uniting in an attempt to cash-in on their prior popularity, and gain some ticket sales on this gimmick that fools audiences who feel inclined toward these stars since their first outings were debatably good. Bullock has only had the “Congeniality” films to rely on, and Reeves hasn’t done much since the “Matrix” franchise.

Felix 2006: And it seems to be working, too. Fact is, the plot makes no sense, but when you take away the gimmick of the letters, it’s really just another soapy romance with two beautiful people we’re suppose to sympathize for only because they’re good looking. When you compare it to “Hope Floats” and “Sweet November”, this isn’t such a bad effort. But, while I appreciate their ability to want to try something new, the problem with that fact is that “The Lake House” is another remake of a Japanese film called “Siworae”.

Felix 2004: So, while audiences and critics have praised this it’s really just another dumb remake that snuck by us?

Felix 2006: It seems so. The film is based around the gimmick of both characters in a two year gap unaware that they’re living in a different time period. This not only creates fascination among this discovery between them, but it gives the writers a chance to narrate without actually narrating. The entirety of the film is told through two different narratives, and the dialogue between them is based around disembodied narrating and exchanges that desperately tries to create chemistry. While I like Reeves and his attempts to give honestly good performances, Bullock was a character I could never warm up to.

Felix 2004: Are there any attempts at social commentary on it?

Felix 2006: Not so much social commentary, but rather stupid plot devices. In one scene, Reeves’ character asks Bullock what life is like in 2006, granted he’s only in 2004. And the sad part of this film is that neither character is ever interesting. Their sub-plots never really display an iota of compelling entertainment. And they never question the specifics of the magical mailbox either. If I found a mailbox that could enable me to correspond with people in the past, there’s really no limit to the facets of this device. And yet it’s used by two people who fall in love. Why just letters? Why not send a camcorder or video message with you? But, the plot further complicates itself by breaking out from the box and allowing these two people to correspond by changing the scenery around them. “The Lake House” is sadly short-sighted when you ponder on the ability of these two individuals to manipulate time.

Felix 2004: Sort of like “The Matrix” a la “Gone with the Wind”.

Felix 2006: And it only begs the audience to ask “How?” How can they do this? What’s allowing them to do this? Fate? A god? Ghosts? A supernatural presence? Is Reeves really Neo? Is it the dog? They enter into this scenario without ever questioning it, or investigating it. And that made it distracting. As a dramedy novel, I could see some sense if disbelief being suspended, but as a film that seems to take itself too seriously, “The Lake House” doesn’t work.

Felix 2004: How can they be two years ahead of each other? How does that work? How does the same dog pop up in two years? How can they manipulate time while being basically in the same time period?

Felix 2006: It made no sense, and no matter how hard I tried to wrap my brain around it, I just couldn’t get the story straight. But “The Lake House” doesn’t seem to want to. It’s a romance, so they expect you to put logic on hold and excuse its preposterous plot. But I just couldn’t. While it’s not the worst entry from either actor, it’s certainly another lame-brained blemish in their careers.



Posted on June 30, 2006 in Reviews by
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