Back in 1994, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock enjoyed a box-office
success with
SPEED. Reeves wisely passed on a reunion on the ill-fated sequel,
SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL, but now the pair has come together as the stars
THE LAKE HOUSE, a charming, if implausible love story about a couple living
in different times.

 THE LAKE HOUSE is a remake of the 2000 Asian movie SIWORAE which
in English was known as
IL MARE (not to be confused with the 1962 Italian film
of the same title.) The 2000 film had more elements of science fiction to it,
while the American version, written by award-winning playwright David Auburn
PROOF) concentrates more on the romance. Given that Reeves and Bullock
share a terrific on-screen chemistry, this may have been a wise choice. From a
logical standpoint, however, it is something of a mistake. The film has gaping
plot holes and even the best efforts of the actors cannot overcome them.

 The premise of the movie is fairly simple: Dr. Kate Forster (Bullock) has
been living in a designer lake house in Illinois -- which contains elements of
designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Richard Meier, to mention
but a few. As she prepares to depart for a new home in Chicago, she leaves a
note for the next tenant to forward her mail on to her. Somehow the mailbox at
the house is a magical one and her letter is received by Alex Wyler (Reeves),
a struggling architect and the son of the man (veteran actor Christopher
Plummer) who designed and built the lake house. The oddball thing is that the
pair are living two years apart. As they exchange letters, they grow closer and
eventually fall in love -- with complications, of course.

 I do have to say that there were a couple of frustrating elements to the
story. Since it is set in contemporary times, I kept wondering why Bullock's
character -- a physician at a major Chicago hospital -- just didn't use a computer
to search for Reeves' character. It wouldn't have been difficult; after all, he's the
son of a prominent architect and should have been easy to locate. Of course,
if she had done that, the film would have been a short. Instead, she gives in
to the gimmick and continues to exchange letters. Director Alejandro Agresti
tries to infuse some pizazz into the film but the clever camera tricks can't
hide the screenplay's flaws. Bullock is charming and lovely as Kate and Reeves
is revelatory as Alex. Their chemistry is combustible; it's too bad that the
film lets them down at every turn. (I figured out a major "twist" to the story
almost immediately, for instance.)

                  Rating:                   C
                  MPAA Rating:       PG for some language and a disturbing image
                  Running time:       105 mins.

                              Viewed at the AMC Loews E-Walk 13
The Lake House
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.