The Lakehouse

Kate Foster (Sandra Bullock) moves out of her lakeside house leaving a message for new tenant Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) to forward any mail. As he reads the message, he is perplexed by situations she describes which haven’t happened. It transpires that they are living different realities 2 years apart, with their daily correspondence bringing them closer together. They both set out to prove that time and distance is no barrier to a growing relationship.
Based on a Korean film, ‘The Lakehouse’ re-unites Reeves and Bullock who proved a potent combination in the 1994 film ‘Speed’. Their easy going chemistry is in evidence for this latest team-up, although the scenes where they are both apart highlight the limitations of both actors. Reeves does his best with the material, but remains an unconvincing romantic lead. Bullock has always had a limited acting range, with the remote feel of the story exposing the wooden acting for which she has become known. Only Christopher Plummer as Alex’s father gives the film any credibility, playing an emotionally stunted man, who originally built the lakehouse as a gift to his wife.
Hollywood romance films prove to be fodder for the most unlikeliest of scenarios in which star crossed lovers can unite. The main crux of the story is based on a time paradox concept that unfortunately raises more questions than giving answers, with gaping holes left by its conclusion. The use of split screen to show the characters bonding over time works occasionally, but only makes the story needlessly complicated. At times the film comes close to providing some fascinating potential plot developments, but these are pushed aside once the very pedestrian romance heats up.
The major problem is that whilst there is a skeleton of a story on display, the heart of the film never beats as well as it should. The sub-plots only seem peripheral to the main event, which itself isn’t strong enough to sustain a feature length film. The characters aren’t as well developed as they should have been, with the leads seemingly lost in the films time warp premise. There is never a clear explanation of how they were able to communicate in the first place, which apparently the screenwriter arrogantly assumes the audience will just accept.
The science fiction angle seems quite a strange way of basing a romance on, and only works if you don’t think too closely of the many leaps in logic the film makes. ‘The Lakehouse’ is a mild diversion that seems like a romantic episode of The Twilight Zone than anything published by Mills and Boon.
Rating out of 10: 4
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My Super Ex-Girlfriend

After dating Jenny (Uma Thurman) for a few months, Matt (Luke Wilson) falls for another woman.  Jenny is actually superhero G-Girl, and when superheroes get mad, they get even.  Mixed into this superhuman domestic drama, is baddie Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard) an old flame of Jenny’s who will do anything to destroy any relationship of hers. By using his own mere mortal abilities, it’s up to Matt to solve this dating disaster.
Ivan Reitman made a name for himself by directing several classic comedies in the 80s, such as Ghostbusters and Twins.  They appealed to a very broad audience, but had an undercurrent of savage satire on modern day life making them memorable.  Reitman’s career since those heady days has slipped considerably, with inoffensive family friendly films that have aimed for the safe option.  This film is no exception and shows a director who seems to have lost his once golden touch.
Most of the characters are very unlikeable, with Uma Thurman’s role coming across as a psychotic basketcase.  The fact that Luke Wilsons character falls for her, generates little sympathy and only asks the audience to marvel at his idiocy.  For a comedy to work, there has to be characters or situations that audiences relate to, which isn’t in evidence here.  The only character that stands out is the one played by Eddie Izzard, who seems to enjoy himself  - but when the audience finds the villain more charming than the supposed ‘heroes’, then you know a film is in trouble.
The basic plot set up is a good one, with plenty of potential.  Reitman fails to inject any life to proceedings, and allowed his actors to over emphasise the alleged funny bits of the script.  The story would have worked better had it not been stretched to breaking point, and seems more suitable for a one hour television comedy than a film.  The supporting players do their best, but the funny lines they get to muster have a deflated air of predictability. 
The real villain of this superhero ‘comedy’ is Reitman himself, who has let himself down with yet another lame script that eradicates any goodwill he may have gained from his previous ventures.   It’s sad to see a director’s satirical edge blunted by years of bad films, with the audience being the true heroes by staying until the end of this one.  Above all else, the deeply unfunny script suggests the director has apparently gained the superhuman power of mediocrity.
Rating out of 10:   2