THE LAKE HOUSE
THUMBS DOWN FILM REVIEW RATING!
THE LAKE HOUSE fails on so many levels that it’s tough to pin down one thing viewers will dislike the most. Be it the multiple unexplained fantasy elements, or the lame acting, or the dumb-downed plot, this film will most likely make you shoot popcorn out of your nose, not in laughter, but because of incredulity.
A time-traveling mailbox (and, apparently, canine) bind two lonely souls together at a lake house. The place was built by Simon Wyler (Christopher Plummer, INSIDE MAN) for his now deceased wife. Being a successful architect, his sons fall into the family business too. One of these is Alex (Keanu Reeves, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO), who purchases the house in 2004. Trouble is, though, the house is already owned ...in 2006. Not usually a problem, but apparently these two years in time are connected somehow. Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock, CRASH) is the 2006 year owner and has just sold the place. She leaves a note for the new owner to send all mail to her forwarded address. But the mail gets picked up in 2004 by Alex, who’s confused about the date she put on her message. When he sticks his reply in the mailbox, Kate picks it up ...in 2006, two years later. The two form an "across-time" romance, trying to meet up in Kate’s year but failing. They do bump into one another in 2004 but neither realizes the importance of it.
Okay, let’s start with the basic problems: Why these two and why a mailbox? The two individuals chosen for this event may be overlooked as mere coincidence. But the mailbox? Please!
Kate and Alex are separated by two years in time but brought together by the mailbox. The big issue here is that neither of them find this even remotely disturbing or incredible. They just accept it. The assumption must be that the script and director wanted to move on to the "more interesting" love story surrounding the two protagonists. The problem here, though, is that the romance is anything but interesting. It’s distant (like the years that separate them), and rushed, and poorly acted. Bullock and Reeves had more chemistry in SPEED (that ought to tell you a lot!).
Time travel movies are tough to pull off to begin with, and the challenge for most of them is avoiding the paradox they create. The Lake House doesn’t even try to address this problem and simply plows ahead without considering the intelligence of its audience. For instance, at one point Kate (in 2006) goes to an architects office and discovers some disturbing news. She rushes out to try and prevent it from happening by sending Alex a letter. And they do avoid the disastrous event. The trouble is, though, is that if it’s avoided, then there never was an event to begin with because Alex avoided it in 2004, thus, in 2006, there wouldn’t have been this problem for Kate to worry about. Some may not be bothered by this, but many scientists must be pretty ticked-off that the film doesn’t address it.
And the final tragedy is the acting. Both Reeves and Bullock can act. We’ve seen them do it. But here they are bland, boring, and completely unsympathetic. Even Christopher Plummer’s character seemed forced and poorly thought out.
Need a sleep aid? Put this flick in your DVD player and snooooooze away!