The Lake House

on June 16, 2006 by Christine James
You know what they say: Timing is everything. That's true for "The Lake House's" star-crossed lovers, who are two years out of sync with each other -- but it's even more of an issue for the film itself, whose languorous pace kills any sense of momentum.

Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanu Reeves) both live in a glass house on a lake. Only Alex lives there in 2004, and Kate has just moved out in 2006. On a visit back to her former abode, Kate checks her old mailbox for any unforwarded items, only to find correspondence from Alex replying to a timeslipped missive of her own. Thus begins a Griffin and Sabine-type pen-paramour romance wherein the past and present coexist in a precarious simultaneity, with true love just out of reach.

The payoff moments wherein realities are suddenly altered in dramatic fashion are undercut by bafflingly stilted direction by Alejandro Agresti, who seems to have taken all of the awkward elliptical moments from Jonathan Glazer's "Birth" and dropped them randomly into his shooting script. There's a general sense of confusion to the proceedings, not because it's too complex or conceptually abstract, but because the exposition is amateurishly muddled. When Kate first corrects Alex as to what year it is, one struggles to recall Alex's initial assertion of the timeline. And why did Kate move, and where and when? It's unclear for a while that her visits to the magic mailbox are post-tenancy. Also, a pet dog seems to have had overlapping lives in a couple of parallel universes. Who knows -- perhaps it's not a glitch in the fourth dimension that Kate and Alex must traverse, but rather just some bad editing. Starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Directed by Alejandro Agresti. Written by David Auburn. Produced by Doug Davidson and Roy Lee. A Warner Bros. release. Romance/Drama. Rated PG for some language and a disturbing image. Running time: 98 min

Tags: Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeve, Alejandro Agresti, David Auburn, Doug Davidson, Roy Lee, Warner Bros, Romance/Drama, mailbox, altered realities

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