The Lake House

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Average Product Rating: Very Good
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A Decent Concept Smothered by Mediocrity.

Jan 29, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some interesting fantasy elements that are actually cohesive

Cons:Ho hum acting, cheesy soundtrack, slow pacing, awful script

The Bottom Line: Seriously, don't bother.


My husband and I saw dozens of cheesy, terrible previews for The Lake House in the months before it came out. After each one, we would look at each other, smirk, and discuss how we would never see that movie. Well, we ended up seeing it on our recent Caribbean cruise. We wanted to try out the fancy schmancy Movies Under the Stars feature, and this was literally the only evening movie all week we hadn’t previously seen. We went in expecting The Lake House to be a one star movie, and I am in fact giving it two stars. I guess that means the movie does succeed on some small level?

Plot Information
If you saw a single one of the nine trillion annoying trailers for this film, you should have a pretty good idea of what it’s about. “Can this be happening?” Dramatic music. “It's the same day two years apart!” Dramatic music. “Pick a place. I'll be there, I promise.” Ah, the trials and tribulations of a relationship between two people in parallel universes. The Lake House tells the story of Alex (Keanu Reeves) and Kate (Sandra Bullock), who form a bond and relationship through letters and a shared lake house, which each is living in at the same time two years apart, if you can wrap your head around that. Living two years apart has some disadvantages, the largest of which being the fact that the two can’t meet. Will they be able to cross time and space to find true love? I’ll give you one guess.

My Thoughts
The time/space continuum thing that the film works with actually kept my attention, not because I gave a fig about Alex or Kate but because I’m a big geek for fantasy movies that deal with time travel. I don’t care about real-life plausibility in this type of film. All that matters to me is internal consistency. The Lake House doesn’t do a terrible job in this respect. In some cases, the filmmakers surprised me by laying out seemingly irrelevant scenarios and then giving them significance later. Then, there were definitely a few points where I found myself screaming inside my head that one thing or another didn’t make sense, and why didn’t the character just do X! On the whole, though, The Lake House gets an A for effort and B for results on its fantasy elements.

Where this film fails, badly, is in its acting and character development. Perhaps part of this can be blamed on the very nature of the plot and the way it is perceived by a modern-day viewer. I found myself vaguely creeped out by the entire concept of meeting someone via some random letters stuck in your mailbox. We also never get to know a lot about Kate and Alex as individuals. Alex is an architect and Kate works at a hospital, but neither of them seem to have much of a life and/or personality. Why do I care about these people? Both Bullock and Reeves basically phone in their performances, Bullock with her traditional brooding romantic heroine persona and Reeves with his typical sci-fi “dude” baffled expression. It doesn’t help that the pair are given ridiculous sound bite dialogue of the “She's more real to me than anything I've ever known” or “Even though this is clearly impossible, it's amazing” variety. Seriously, you just found out you’re corresponding with someone living three years ahead of you. Can you work up a little shock and awe?

I know some soundtrack variation must have occurred, but I still left feeling like the same song had been playing the whole time. I believe it was “This Never Happened Before” by Paul McCartney. The monotony of the soundtrack reflects the overall monotony of the film. The Lake House moves at exactly one pace throughout, or at least until the last twenty minutes when stuff actually happens. On the whole, the film feels like an extended version of the trailer – a couple hours of music, punctuated with deep, meaningful looks and cheesy romantic exhortations.

Overall…
I was curious to see how The Lake House ended – not because I cared about any of the characters, but because the plot’s fantasy elements were somewhat intriguing. A little intrigue, however, is not enough to sit through two hours of badly contrived romance and repetitive music. On the whole, The Lake House turns out to be a better concept than I expected, about as poorly executed as I expected.


Recommend this product? No


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