Aug 17, 2006|
You know you’re in for a turkey of a movie when the distributors for “Lady In The Water” say, in all seriousness, that not only is there not a pre-screening, but three days before the film’s release date, the film reels haven’t arrived. There were still high hopes for this adult fairy tale of "Narfs" and "Skrunts" – but this film would have made more sense if director M. Night Shyamalan had thrown in a Nerfball and made the Narfs and Skrunts take on the Giants and the Seahawks.
For starters, it’s even worse than “The Village,” which was Shyamalyan’s last attempt to do some pseudo mumbo jumbo with audiences’ heads. He doesn’t seem to just do twist endings; it's more like he makes the whole thing up as he goes along. The director has also given himself his largest acting role to date: he plays a man predicted to write “The Cookbook” that will change the world and influence the future leader of the US. Nice ego there, M. Night.
At the heart of the film is Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), a nebbish, stuttering plumber in an apartment complex in Pennsylvania called “The Cove.” So there he is, cleaning the pool one day, when out of it springs a naked chick. She is a Narf (a kind of sea-nymph) and her name is Story (Bryce Dallas Howard). She has come to earth to communicate deep messages to man such as “all beings have a purpose." Yet she also needs to return home to the "Blue World" via an oversized eagle, the Giant Elton.
But just beyond the pool lurk the Skrunts, wolf-like creatures with red eyes who resemble soggy, 3-D piles of Astroturf. They’ll eat anything that moves, especially Narfs, but also the nerdy film buffs or the group of stoners who provide the film’s only comic relief. In order to get Story safely home, Cleveland must find a Healer and Guide from among his neighbors. One of these comes in the guise of a young boy. Who reads more deep messages. From a cereal box.
At this point I started writing my own screenplay, in which the audience members were Barfs, and the screen was the Great Evil. In this film, “Man Watching The Horrible Movie,” the Barfs channel their collective mental and physical energy and hurl huge projectiles at the screen. If they do it with enough force, the screen disappears and everybody gets to go home. A great story. Hollywood, here I come.
Best Bit: When I mentally projected barf at the Narfs.