Two if By Sea

on January 12, 1996 by Pat Kramer
   A better title for this movie would be "Three Strikes and You're Out," in reference to the film's failed attempts at romance, comedy and adventure. Denis Leary ("Operation Dumbo Drop") plays petty, blue-collar criminal Frank O'Brien, who flees the scene of a Newport Beach robbery after stealing a $4 million Matisse, which he thinks is worth only $100,000. Along for the ride is his adventure-hungry girlfriend, Roz (Sandra Bullock), who despite being uneducated is the more street-smart of the two. While waiting to unload the stolen portrait, they try to pass themselves off as "the idle rich," failing miserably in some humorous, and on other occasions very weak, scenes. At the same time, they are pursued by teams of incompetent police, an FBI agent who takes himself too seriously and a bunch of dumb-luck thieves who provide a Laurel and Hardy type of comic relief.
   As an actor and comedian, Leary has always done well with his caustic wit, but that persona works against this romantic comedy's grain. The main problem with the film is the weak, not-so-clever dialogue; were it not for the constant profanity that doubles for dialogue, this film might succeed as adolescent humor.
   In addition, there are several awkward scenes where the actors appear to give up altogether on their lines and are ad-libbing, perhaps hoping to come up with something better on the fly. Their efforts to pull the plot together come off as embarrassingly amateur, which is a real shame based on both actors' winning track records in other films. With little charisma between the two stars, "Two If By Sea" fails as a romance or as a comedy and barely skates by as a good caper movie, due mostly to the efforts of the supporting players, who make this film a little less painful to watch. Starring Sandra Bullock and Denis Leary. Directed by Bill Bennett. Written by Denis Leary, Mike Armstrong and Ann Lembeck. Produced by James G. Robinson. A Warner Bros. release. Romantic comedy. Rated R for language. Running time: 95 min
Tags: Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary, Directed by Bill Bennett, Written by Denis Leary, Mike Armstrong, Ann Lembeck, Produced by James G. Robinson, A Warner Bros. release, Romantic comedy, persona, humor, ad-libbing, embarrassing, criminal, robbery

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