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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.78%
Worth A Look35.64%
Average: 29.7%
Pretty Bad: 8.91%
Total Crap: 3.96%

7 reviews, 59 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Tepid time-trip drama."
2 stars

'Frequency' is the sort of movie I have fun rewriting in my head; the movie in front of me floats away while I attend to the more interesting film playing behind my eyes. Perhaps that isn't fair to the movie, but life isn't fair, and attention spans even less so. If 'Frequency' were involving on any level but the surface, it wouldn't drive me into the arms of a better, imaginary film.

For instance, here's a grabber of a premise: What if the grown son of a man who died 30 years ago were magically able to communicate with his dad via ham radio? The son in question, John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel), was a boy of six when his fireman father, Frank (Dennis Quaid), fell in the line of duty. Unusual sunspots enable Frank, a ham-radio enthusiast, to connect with his grown son 30 years in the future. Conveniently for the plot, John takes out the old man's radio on a whim and starts playing with it two days before the 30th anniversary of Frank's death. I wondered what would have happened if John had hauled out the radio a day too late; there would've been no movie, but that doesn't seem much of a loss.

At first skeptical, Frank quickly accepts the fact that his 36-year-old son is talking to him from 1999 -- I would've had Frank's disbelief take a lot longer to dispel -- and he asks John what he's doing these days. John, as it happens, is a cop; Frank has a moment of disappointment that the kid didn't turn out to be a third-generation fireman, but hey, a cop is almost as acceptable to a macho guy like Frank. If John had grown up to be a computer programmer or interior decorator (or film critic), the movie would collapse. Much is also made of the childhood scenes in which Frank teaches the boy how to ride a bike, and we don't even get a cheesy shot of the adult John riding one (maybe he could've grown up to be a bicycle cop).

Frequency was directed by Gregory Hoblit, a TV veteran whose feature films to date (Primal Fear, Fallen) have been rather gimmicky -- even Edward Norton's phenomenal performance in Primal Fear was central to the film's gimmick. Here, the gimmick involves the efforts of the son and the departed father to save lives -- first Frank's own life, then his wife (and John's mother). A lot of the plot focuses on some serial killings 30 years ago, a discovery of a skeleton, and the ability of Frank to stash things where they won't be found for 30 years, so that John can retrieve them. Frank is reduced to a puppet wandering around doing whatever John's disembodied voice tells him to; the sci-fi literal-mindedness of the plot neutralizes any ambiguity -- such as the possibility that either man is imagining his son's or father's voice.

The time-warp drama could be fun and mind-bending; instead, it all seems to point to an ending that redefines "schmaltz." Should I spoil it? It doesn't really matter. If you see the movie, ask yourself what would be the most upbeat ending possible; you'll see it all and more. Frequency doesn't even supply any generational tension: The father and son love each other dearly, so there's no animosity for them to overcome (and thus, not much meaning to their reconnection), and the movie doesn't have much fun with the idea of a 1969-era man talking to a 1999-era man.

'Frequency' isn't genuine enough to be moving, and it's too predictable to be suspenseful. When a plot has this many time-travel curves, it can't really afford to throw any other curves our way. That would be another, better movie.

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originally posted: 01/24/07 15:40:56
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell lame as fuck 1 stars
8/05/17 Andrés Aot of non-sense 2 stars
8/31/13 EDDIED Good movie but it is illogical and follows no rules. Plus, the story changes midway through 4 stars
10/16/11 Monday Morning What's theRob Gonsalves - you're an ass, and not in a good way. 5 stars
10/29/10 Rolly Hyatt I really have nothing bad to say about this film. It's been a favorite of mine for a while. 5 stars
1/13/09 MJ Robles awesome! moving! enoyed it a lot! 3 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Kept me on the edge of the seat! 4 stars
1/29/07 Stanley Thai A great father and son movie with suspense. 4 stars
11/03/06 AJ Muller REALLY wish I'd seen it in theaters; exciting and funny and moving - flat out STELLAR 5 stars
9/17/06 hector you have to like this movie , if you pay attention to it 5 stars
3/19/06 great excellent and enjoyable 5 stars
10/19/05 Valerie really awesome! 5 stars
2/01/05 Edward Condon I enjoyed this alot. 4 stars
12/06/04 Lee Davis Better than 95% of what's on video 5 stars
8/13/04 Tsang Ho Yin damn entertaining, much better than i thought it would be 4 stars
5/04/04 R.W. Welch Ingeniously designed. Gets to be a bit much towards the end. 4 stars
3/07/04 rory very surprized. excellent film 5 stars
1/23/04 Abe Giesbrecht Loved it 4 stars
12/02/03 tatum Passable thriller 4 stars
8/18/03 Nevz i liked it 5 stars
8/02/03 A Dude I find it hard to believe that anyone can not, at least, enjoy this movie a little 4 stars
4/06/03 123 good and thrilling, xcept for the ending 4 stars
10/21/02 snowconehead If you can swallow the premise, digest the plot, you'll shit out pure gold 4 stars
8/08/02 Kino It was a shitload better than I expected. 4 stars
7/24/02 Dannielle I Think The Movie Was Excellent And Sad 5 stars
3/04/02 Marcia Lartz A stand-out in quirky pseudosciencefiction genre. 5 stars
1/10/02 FGJ180 Good, Solid, entertaining time travel movie, although the final twist is very corny. 4 stars
6/30/01 Peter Brook Lame plot twists, acting by numbers. How can anybody like this shit? 1 stars
5/15/01 Will don't think about the issues of time travel like a geek, and it becomes a pretty neat film 4 stars
4/12/01 YelloMiata@AOL.COM My wife was a step ahead of the movie, but in a good way. 4 stars
2/04/01 rentabeast hey, what can I say, cavaziel is from my home town, and the movie was excellent. get DVD! 5 stars
1/16/01 Elvisfan Quaid gets points for playing "Suspicious Minds" in the beginning; movie was good not great 4 stars
12/19/00 Monday Morning Sci-fi/mystery/thriller/family forumula A nailbiter with well done. 5 stars
12/08/00 Girl 9 You probaly won't hate it. Would've been better if they had thought of a better ending. 4 stars
12/03/00 scott wahls most underrated pic of the year, NOT AT ALL what i expected, guaranteed satisfaction! 5 stars
11/24/00 The EVIL Penguin it can happen to YOU! 4 stars
11/11/00 budin different from what i expected but a decent movie 4 stars
11/07/00 The Bomb 69 better than most Hollywood shit out there 4 stars
8/08/00 Mic Despite all the holes and sudden switch from human drama to pathetic thriller, still v.good 4 stars
8/04/00 Viking Shame about the ending !!!! 3 stars
7/09/00 Narf Suspend disbelief, and this is one very absorbing movie. Caviezel is Oscar-caliber. 5 stars
6/20/00 Carole Weird 2 stars
5/27/00 Jaime N. Christley Forget the plot holes -- a heartfelt speculative time-travel fantasy. 3 stars
5/22/00 Obi Wan Loved it...good flim not much hype to kill it!! But they should of pushed it to June/July. 4 stars
5/20/00 mahone If you want good time paradox thrills, read Stanislaw Lem! 2 stars
5/12/00 Thayer Bush Awesome Movie 5 stars
5/12/00 David Blumgart Aw stop bitching. If you can get down Keanu Reeves as 'The One' why're moaning about this? 4 stars
5/09/00 El Tigre I enjoyed it a lot. Though I do wish someone had taken some putty to those plot holes. 4 stars
5/04/00 Caleb Toby Awesome... some areas are uncertain, but overall good plot and great acting. 4 stars
5/04/00 Blackbird I could suspend disbelief until the climatic scene. 3 stars
5/02/00 GDB Nice movie if you aren't too anal about the reality's of time-space. 4 stars
5/02/00 PhilmPhreak I liked it. 4 stars
5/01/00 MrShowbiz The problematic plot will make you wish you tuned out of this genre-wingling mishmash. 1 stars
5/01/00 Malbert I thought this movie was very cool, except for the ending and the jerky camera 4 stars
5/01/00 The Rock the plot holes and ending were bad 3 stars
5/01/00 Captain Highcrime The opportunity to get very confused very quickly exists here, plus its a long road to haul 3 stars
4/29/00 Dennis Flutie this movie is a great movie so much that i woul'd tell my friends to go and Ill go home. 4 stars
4/26/00 Jason Kallelis Wow, its just like a good moive, only not. 1 stars
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  28-Apr-2000 (PG-13)



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