The Lake House

June, 2006, Drama


Playwright David Auburn, (Proof) wrote the screenplay for this fitfully interesting romantic drama starring Keneau Reeves & Sandra Bullock, who first appeared together a dozen years ago in the action thriller Speed. In the movies each has made since then, they've rarely managed to be as interesting as they were on that bomb-laden bus, so it's nice to learn that the years have been kind to them physically and that they can still create some quite effective screen chemistry. Lake House is a hot weather movie, to be seen when the summer's lazy climate induces a willingness to linger over something you'd pass by during the bustle of other seasons. Languid is what you want in mid-June; you get it here, delivered with perfectly-developed adult schmaltz, courtesy of Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti, a veteran working in Hollywood for the first time. If the box-office for this rematch of its stars is solid, he'll undoubtedly be asked back.

Reeves plays Alex Wyler, an architect estranged from Simon, (Christopher Plummer) his famous father who heads a well-known design firm. Alex has rejected his profession to design and build tract housing, but when he buys an abandoned lake house on the outskirts of Chicago he finds a note in it from Dr. Kate Forester, (Bullock) the last occupant. Not surprisingly, she asks him to forward her mail. But there's a catch; when Alex tries to do so, he finds that her apartment building in The Loop hasn't built yet…

Impossible? Not in Hollywood; you see Kate is living in the present, (2006) while Alex, is still working his way through 2004. (Just how this occurs and how the two grow fond of each other via the written word requires a good bit of directorial sleight of hand). Anxious to meet but not knowing how to do so, the lovers finally discover that they've already met, one starry night a few years earlier when Kate was deciding whether or not to marry her then boyfriend. And so it goes…

 Agresti employs the handsome architecture of The Windy City quite thoughtfully and at age 42, Reeves conveys a weary maturity that suggests he just might be as intelligent, and worthy as his acid-tongued father believes him to be. Bullock happens to be the same age as her co-star, but you'd never know it to look at her; like Dorian Grey, she doesn't seem to age. As her remarkable turn in last year's Crash demonstrated, she can deliver a dramatic character with commendable skill. Her Kate, a lonely physician slowly giving up on all life has to offer as she dives deeper into her career, is both dramatically recognizable and appealingly vulnerable. 

Before the final credits roll, the lovers find a way to break through the time warp the script creates for them, but don't expect any realism in the solution to their quandary; this is Hollywood remember, where -- given the time, money and star power -- anything can happen.  Move over, H. G. Wells; here's a new take on your famous time machine.

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