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"Angel Eyes"

Directed by Luis Mandoki.
Written by Gerald Di Pego.
Starring Jennifer Lopez and Jim Caviezel.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  5/20/01


Happy Monday!  Today, I went over to the multiplex to see the just-released Jennifer Lopez film “Angel Eyes” because, like my ratings description says (ahem, USED to say—see below for updates), it is opening weekend and it has Lopez in it.

My rating system, though, may have to change.  For the third film in a row, Lopez has discovered the land of disappointment, as “Angel Eyes” continues in the “Did she even read the script?” tradition of “The Cell” and “The Wedding Planner.”

In fact, looking over Lopez' entire body of work, I must now admit shame that I am such a huge J-Lo fan.  Besides the spectacular “Out of Sight”, Lopez has appeared in “U-Turn” (a low for director Oliver Stone), “Anaconda” (oh, my), and “Money Train”, Wesley & Woody's follow-up to “White Men Can't Jump.”  Granted, Lopez is hot—and by hot, I—but it is a shame that she can't select scripts any better than this.

I know this may sound horrible to some of you, but I think you should always try and play your strengths, and in Lopez's case, she should try and play someone like the title character of one of her earliest films, “Selena.”  Or, play a flat-out sexpot...whatever the case, she should seriously consider selling out and playing someone with mass sex appeal.  Do more sex scenes.  Sing more songs on the film's soundtrack.  Play a dancer.  In other words, stick to basics—her basics are an incredible body, a Bronx accent and a serviceable singing voice.

I don't like Meg Ryan films, but I give her credit by becoming a success by sticking to what she knows best—that her personality and looks add up to a button-cute sweetheart, so play that in your films.  Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Jackie Chan...these stars all know what they do well, and they tend to do it in all of their movies.  Lopez is not at the level yet where she can claim she has acting chops yet; Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Joan Allen, Johnny Depp...these people have proven they can play a variety of different roles and be successful.  One day, J-Lo might be in the Spacey club...but, that day is not today.

In “Angel Eyes”, we get to watch Lopez struggle as a Chicago cop named Sharon, who has all kinds of problems—she treats dates like interrogation sequences, she has a filthy sailoresque mouth, her family doesn't love her (why, the film never bothers to explain; details, people) and she has terrible problems sleeping.  If Courtney Love was playing this role, it would make more sense.  But there Lopez is, crying in half of this movie's scenes while playing the romantic foil of a strange trenchcoat-wearing gent named Catch (Jim Caviezel, “The Thin Red Line”) that seemingly has no past.

The problems with this film are numerous, but it essentially boiled down to the absolutely insane idea that Sharon would ever fall for a guy that doesn't even tell her where he lives or what he does for a living.  Somehow, Catch—who lost his wife and child in a car accident at the beginning of the film—has no job and no discernible way of earning an income, yet has money for an apartment, new furniture and enough left over to take Sharon out on dates around town.  Sharon only asks Catch him a few times what he does for a living, but Catch never wants to, Sharon just decides to go out with him anyway.  Oh, and Catch just walks around the streets of Chicago all day long, in-between dates with Sharon.

Would you go out with someone that had no job (and no prospects of ever attaining one) and just wandered the streets of your town all day long?  I didn't think so.

But there she is, having a picnic lunch with him in a public park while doing dives off of a cliff into a lake.  This scene was followed with one of the worst R-rated sex scenes in the history of motion pictures.  Look, if you are going to have a sex scene in your movie, at least entertain me by making me imagine that these two people are having sex.  Rather, in “Angel Eyes”, the director may have seen “tense, thrashing, erotic” on his script for this sequence, but instead he achieved “boring, light rubbing, minimal grunting” with a high degree of success.

The acting is serviceable, and Lopez & Caviezel are easy on the eyes, but the plot—and its pitiful, too-easy ending—is far from angelic.  I wouldn't even recommend seeing this if “Shrek” and the upcoming “Pearl Harbor” were sold out; isn't “Memento” still in theaters?

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09