Passable date flick. [Rated
The theme of
mismatched travelers thrown together in increasingly haphazard situations
has been done before, last in the slapstick comedy of Planes
Trains and Automobiles with Steve Martin and John Candy. Forces
of Nature follows a similar track, though the emphasis is heavier
on the romance rather than slapstick. Similar themes don't mean
copycat stories and I wouldn't have written this 'graph except I'm
trying to stave off a batch of e-mail asking "Didn't someone else
do this story..."
of Nature's adequate story, which doesn't pay a lot of attention
to details or the sequence of time, New York dwellers Ben (Ben
Affleck) and Bridget (Maura Tierney) fly separately to
her homestead in Savannah Georgia because of the film's opening
gag, which I won't reveal. The scared-to-fly Ben packs up Bridget's
wedding dress (you figure it out) and plants himself in a center
seat between a divorced tools salesman (Steve Hytner) and
a dressed in black babe who slowed up the check-in line due to some
heavy duty lip-lock with her main man. Said plane promptly skids
off the runway and Ben "saves the life" of Sarah (Sandra Bullock),
becoming her traveling companion in the process because he won't
get on the next plane and she has to be in Savannah, like, now.
Which doesn't explain a trip to the rental car counter instead of
an New York's Amtrak terminus, except that it sets up the next gag.
Some kind of
disaster strikes every leg of their journey, whether via rental
car, train or bus. That doesn't include the danger of a growing
hurricane off the east coast. The interpersonal stuff is pretty
much a given as, on the way to Savannah, Ben finds himself more
and more in doubt about his nuptials while his attraction to the
free spirited Sarah grows. It also hasn't helped that every word
of congratulations or encouragement has come from singles and couples
who are either cheating, unhappy or divorced. A helluva way to kick
off a date flick . I won't even start to go into Sarah's backstory,
which is pretty heavy duty or Bridget's growing doubt as ex-beau
Steve (David Strickland) makes a heavy last ditch play for
One night in
K-mart and one at a South Carolina motel later, it's two days on,
according to the script. By Cranky's calculation, two nights usually
fit in between three days, but that's a minor complaint. As the
film goes on, the script pushes coincidence to the breaking point.
It works for the first two methods of transport, but then a lie
that got our happy couple on a condo selling tour bus comes undone
when the Best Man (Steve Zahn) and Maid of Honor (Meredith
Scott Lynn) just happen to show up at the exact same location
in South Carolina where their bus has stopped. (This pair is driving,
too. Yeah. Like New Yorkers drive...)
aside, Forces of Nature is fairly predictable. If Cranky
proceeded to analyze like a film student, Forces of Nature
would go down the crapper without a second thought. Sandra Bullock's
free-spirited makeup, makes her look absolutely hideous. She overcomes
that and when she lets loose in a strip joint, not what you think,
it's more than enough thumpa thumpa. Ben Affleck's character/ performance
could be cloned from Adam Sandler's nicer moments in The Wedding
notes: The cinematography (Elliot Davis, D.P.)is gorgeous.
So are some of the special effects (by PDI, the same group that
did Antz). The first time the stormclouds unloose and hail
falls on our unlucky couple you will immediately recoil in expectation
of a music video sequence, the effect is that gorgeous. Despite
the compliments, and they are compliments, these things should never
drag your attention away from the story playing out on the screen.
In Forces of Nature they do.
Bullock have good chemistry. There's enough date-weight, painless
humor that, even when you think you know what's going to happen,
Marc Lawrence's script has got at least one surprise up its
sleeve. Even if you don't believe what you're seeing, the story
moves at a good pace and not everything is as predictable as you
think it's going to be.
a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able
to set his own price to Forces of Nature, he would have paid...
Just a shade
under the normal date-flick level. Forces of Nature isn't
hard to sit through, though it's just a run of the mill dater. Fine
for popcorn and petting when you get bored. Cranky heard more positive
comments from the women at the sneak preview than from the men.
Us guys all hated that the timing made no sense. The women I spoke
with all liked something specific to the story that I won't give