"Lady in the Water"
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Written by M. Night Shyamalan.
Starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright and
M. Night Shyamalan.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 7/23/06
I left work on Friday afternoon at around
5:15 and walked over to the multiplex behind my office building in
Gaithersburg...and, when I got there, I had a host of choices that
were going to start around 5:30:
"You, Me and Dupree"
"Lady in the Water"
"My Super Ex-Girlfriend"
I still want to see "Little Man" because of
its Worst Flick of the Year potential, but after considering all of
my choices, I decided to go see "Lady in the Water." After
careful consideration, I have to admit--worst fucking move I could
have made given my circumstances.
"Lady in the Water" is awful, although not
God-awful, just plain bad. There are many reasons for this,
but I have narrowed it down to three main reasons.
1. M. Night Shyamalan wrote an
absolutely awful script ridden with too-cute clichés and nods to his
own apparent genius. Let's make sure we are clear on
something, and it becomes more obvious with each passing film:
With "The Sixth
Sense", Shyamalan just got plain lucky. By many accounts,
the majority of his other films--save for
"Signs", a film that
has held well over time and features maybe the best acting work in
any of his films--are nothing more than passable and his scripts are
nothing more than hokey. My friend Ross actually claimed this
past weekend that
"Unbreakable" is considered by many of his friends to be their
favorite Shyamalan film, shocking since I have never heard that
before. But I know in asking many of you after seeing the
other flicks this guy has made, the masses did not like
"The Village", they
didn't like "Unbreakable", they probably didn't even notice "Wide
Awake" (and if they did, they didn't like it, either). The
problem here, as with both "The Village" and "Unbreakable", is that
"Lady in the Water" does have a cool idea at its core, but in
playing out the whole story, the writing here is strangely weak, the
character development non-existent, and a couple of characters seem
planted only to flesh out popular movie clichés for Shyamalan's own
amusement. I was gagging by the third act.
2. Shyamalan really thinks it is
best to put himself in his films, and not just for a cameo!! In
"Lady in the Water", he has a half-dozen scenes as Vick Ran, a
struggling writer that lives in the shitty apartment building where
the film takes place. He is not complete dogshit in his role,
but he is distracting, because by now, everyone knows who he is, and
his line delivery is wooden. With a budget this big, was there
not another Indian guy available to play the struggling writer?
3. This film, at its core, is about
a VERY old water nymph that lives beneath a grate, in a cave, at the
bottom of a fucking public pool. And some wolf that hides
in the grass but every so often tries to eat the fucking nymph.
And three monkeys that lives in trees over the pool that are
supposed to be able to protect the nymph from the wolf...whenever
there's an eagle circling the sky over the fucking pool. No
WONDER people saw the trailer for "Lady in the Water" and were like
"There's no fucking way I'm going to see that horseshit."
People in my audience were howling at how
awful some parts of this film were; two rows behind, one guy said
flat-out how much he was hating the film. I know he was two
rows back, because one row behind me, two girls screamed every time
the fucking apartment sprinkler system came on, whether the wolf was
hangin' around or not. Wow, this was pretty bad, and it drove
my audience to near-insanity. It doesn't help that big stars
are beginning to stay away from Shyamalan's productions; how do you
go from getting Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson and Mel Gibson to be in
your films to getting Bryce Dallas Howard as your lead performer?
(Better question--who the fuck IS Bryce Dallas Howard???)
Could you try any harder to NOT sell your films?
Seriously, would love to know what you think
of this one if you have already dropped cash on it. If you
haven't, I'm giving you fair warning...
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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