Review of “Lady in the Water” (2006) PG-13 110min
February 20th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 2,840 Views
M. Knight Shyamalan, the creator of “The Sixth Sense”, wrote, directed and starred in this fantasy movie based on the book he wrote for his own daughter.
The plot: an apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues a woman from the swimming pool he maintains. She turns out to be not a regular woman, but a sea nymph named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), who has an apartment under his pool and tries to make it back into her world, while some nasty creatures are trying to kill her and prevent her from returning. Together with other tenants Cleveland tries to help her.
The summary: this movie is retarded.
The good: Paul Giamatti was awesome, playing this apartment maintenance guy, a former doctor whose family was killed. He’s always on the verge of the nervous breakdown (like in Sideways) and he stutters. Also, I must credit M. Knight Shyamalan for creating a rather original story, where the most thrilling part is the roles the characters have to play to send the barf (or milf, or nymph?.. whatever it was…) back to her world – Mr. Heep is trying to find the right people to perform the ceremony of sending the nymph back (she reminds me of the movies where a buy would try to help a fallen angel), but he was wrong most of the time. Hard to guess how it’s going to end. I suppose the idea that different people get together to help another being is nice, as was the message that everyone has a purpose.
The bad: The residents of this apartment complex are caricatures of people with mental retardation. They all buy into the nymph story right away without any reservations or cynicism and just decide to play along. Except for Paul Giamatti, everybody else’s acting was not worth talking about. Bryce Dallas Howard’s role was to be pale and scared and butt-naked and mumble her prophecies – substantially same role she played in The Village. The grass dogs were not scary. Also, I never liked the idea of scary bedtime story. Japanese have a lot of those; I hated the Nutcracker too when I was little. I’d want my children to go to sleep with a smile on their face, not being afraid of the dark. I feel bad for M. Night’s daughter, but I suppose each parent knows what’s best for his children.
In 2007 this movie has received and won several nominations: the Razzies! Worst screenplay, worst director, worst supporting actor (M. Night Shyamalan), worst picture. Compared to the Sixth Sense, The Village was a major step back, but Lady in the Water was a complete disaster.
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