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'The Lake House' Movie Review

The Foundation's Too Shaky to Support This Lake House

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (3 Reviews)

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The Lake House Tokyo Press Conference

Keanu Reeves; Sandra Bullock

Jun Sato/WireImage/Getty Images
The hype surrounding The Lake House hasn’t as much to do with the film itself as the fact it reunites the stars of SpeedKeanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock – for the first time since that film’s 1994 release. Reeves wisely chose not to be involved in the disastrous Speed 2, while Bullock – still in the early stages of her film career – wasn’t so fortunate. The two have remained friends and although they weren’t actively pursuing a project to do together, The Lake House enticed the Speed stars to reunite on screen. They waited 12 years for this? They should have been more patient.

Dr Kate Forester (Bullock), a lovely and lonely single woman, leaves a message for the next tenant of the house on the lake she’s just vacated asking him to forward her mail. When architect Alex Wyler (Reeves) moves in and reads the note, he believes the woman’s a loon. Her letter makes reference to paw prints by the front door that don’t exist and a box in the attic that’s simply not there. Instead of tossing the note, he writes her back – basically questioning her sanity.

'Jack' and Sandra Bullock in The Lake House.

© Warner Bros Pictures
Fairly quickly through a series of short notes, Kate and Alex discover they’re living two years apart in time. She’s in 2006; he’s in 2004. After digesting that strange little phenomenon with nary a sideways glance, they begin a relationship carried on only through letters left in an apparently magical, mystical mailbox (how the mailbox works and why they don’t question the mini-time machine’s existence is never addressed).

While the whole time traveling romantic angle is promising, it’s also a challenge to keep the plot moving along when the only way we know what the two are saying to each other is through voiceover readings of the letters. Shortly into the film that trick wears thin. The Lake House bogs down as neither main character is all that interesting, taken on their own. Bullock’s Dr Forester is a depressing woman without much personality and Reeves, try as he might, can only bring Alex to life for brief moments. And due to the film's 'letters passed through time' premise, Bullock and Reeves only occasionally share time onscreen, which is a shame as that’s when the film actually picks up speed.

A few unnecessary characters are thrown into the mix, only there to try and provide backstories for the two leads. Christopher Plummer pops in as Reeves’ famous architect dad and delivers a couple of tedious speeches before exiting the pic. Shohreh Aghdashloo (recently seen in American Dreamz) plays Bullock’s best friend, a relationship that simply doesn't work. There’s little connection between the characters with their interactions appearing formal and forced, making it impossible to buy their friendship.

If you’re a masochist then analyzing the plot of The Lake House will be something you can sink your teeth into. Otherwise, don’t even attempt to try and connect the dots. There’s an abundance of cheating going on in the storytelling and a very predictable pay-off at the end. Too much is asked of the audience in terms of suspending disbelief and logic. Without giving away any actual spoilers, it’s tough to address the inconsistencies. Suffice it to say I lost track of the, “Hey, wait a minute… Wouldn’t he/she have known?…” moments early on, which begs the question: if we can figure this dilemma out quickly, then why can’t the two supposedly intelligent participants see their way to a solution?

The scenery is pretty and Chicago’s getting a lot of play on screen recently (with this and The Break-Up). And there’s no doubt exhibitionists will be looking for a lake house like the one Reeves and Bullock briefly called home. But Alejandro Agresti’s (Valentin) direction of this remake of the Korean film Il Mare lacks sparkle and not even the streets of Chicago or a spectacular lake house can save the film. Agresti’s shots are straight-forward and simple which results in the film being too clean. With a romantic movie that requires the viewers to set aside logic and that takes place in two different time periods, the director needs to be a little innovative with his photography and set-ups to try and keep the audience emotionally involved. That just doesn’t happen with The Lake House.

Something’s terribly wrong when the most engaging character in a Sandra Bullock film is a female dog named Jack. A disappointing reunion of Bullock and Reeves, The Lake House might work only for those diehard romantic movie fans who are able to forgive the film’s many flaws and concentrate on just the love story.

GRADE: C-

The Lake House is rated PG for some language and a disturbing image.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
, Member apple3243

(If you didnt have to register there would be heaps more review comments). I agree the movie critic should have just said 'its not my taste' and not ruin the chance for some of seeing a good movie. sure the story line is a bit far fetched but its called 'entertainment' . If I wanted something factual and realistic I would watch a documentary. Its a love story with a twist at the end that keeps things interesting as you work out whats going on and whats going to happen. Its different that other story lines which is good. I was looking up this movie because I wanted to see if other people 'got it' as watching this the second time around, but I wouldnt ruin the twist like the person above!

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