Here’s a frightening concept for you: a romantic movie so silly even John Cusack passed on it. Cusack was in “Must Love Dogs.” See what I mean?Instead we get Keanu Reeves working with Sandra Bullock for the first time since “Speed” in 1994. Reeves was smart enough to duck “Speed II” but he signed on for this mess. Go figure.
He plays Alex Wyler, an architect/builder who has worked his way down to constructing look-alike condos. This is apparently one step above taping together shelters made from cardboard cartons as his long-time estranged architect father (Christopher Plummer) keeps needling him about it. Why the film includes this side drama with the dad is beyond me as it never ties into the main story. I think someone must have mentioned to the producers that Plummer’s presence improves every movie he’s in and they thought they could get a good mention from reviewers if they used him. Keeps Christopher Walken working, too.
So we see Alex move into a lake house designed and built by his dad many years previously. It’s 2004 but he soon discovers that he can communicate with another tenant of the house, Kate Forster (Bullock) who is living in 2006. We see him put a letter into the mailbox and raise the red flag. Then the flag goes down by itself (Kate is retrieving the letter two years later), then up by itself (as she puts her response in the box), and when he looks inside he finds her note to him dated two years in the future.
Do either of them call The Atlantic Paranormal Society? The National Enquirer? Does Alex ask for the results of sporting events so he can put some bets down?
No. They fall in love.
I haven’t seen the Korean film this is based on, “Siworae,” so I can’t tell you whether or not the problems with the script are inherited or if they come from David Auburn, author of the American version, but problems there are a’plenty.
For instance, the lovers keep trying to find a way to meet, but how can they if they exist two years apart? If Alex waits two years to keep a date with Kate, then the Kate who exists two years from the time of the date will—okay, I admit it. I have no idea where that sentence is supposed to go.
I don’t want to get all Amazing Wonder Stories on you, but if a movie is going to utilize one of the standard themes of science fiction—time manipulation—it has to recognize and deal with the paradoxes of the theme.
It won’t be hard for most people to follow the plot or the shifts in time this movie presents, and director Alejandro Agresti works well with cinematographer Alar Kivilo to create and maintain an air of longing for a seemingly impossible romance, but the movie contains just too many “yeah buts” to allow viewers to be absorbed into its love story.And more often than not, when we’re in the right place at the wrong time, there’s no correcting the results to manipulate a happy ending.