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WGUC Reviews


Sony Pictures
Rated PG-13
Review by: Larry Thomas

Movies occasionally get it right when dealing with stories about time tripping. Two films at the top of that short list are Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, and George Roy Hill's film version of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five. Movies can also be successful with complicated stories told out of sequence. Sometimes the result can be cinematic masterpieces, such as Quentin Tarantino's groundbreaking Pulp Fiction and Sergio Leone's final epic film Once Upon a Time in America.

Premonition, the latest Sandra Bullock epic, tries to do both, and fails miserably in the execution.

One afternoon, a sheriff shows up at Bullock's door to tell her that her husband has been killed in a car crash. The next morning when she wakes up he's there, and it's another day out of sequence. As this continues to happen on a daily basis, Bullock becomes more frustrated, so she starts making a chart to piece these events together. Good idea, Sandy, because the script isn't any help. And neither is the pedestrian direction by Mennan Yapo, which has the supposed twists and turns moving at a snail's pace.

Bullock must be just as fascinated with time travel as are the current spate of romance novelists. Her last film, The Lake House, had a similar plot, but despite similar flaws, was definitely more engaging. The director of The Lake House was even able to coax a decent performance out of Keanu Reeves, who was Bullock's co-star in the big action hit Speed.

In Premonition, Bullock's husband is played by TV star Julian McMahon, currently a hot favorite on the Fox series Nip/Tuck, and a veteran of the 1990's guilty pleasure series Profiler. He's given a walk-through role, which is precisely what he does with it... not that he has any other choice. The supporting cast also wastes two excellent character performers. Peter Stormare, whom you may remember as the kidnapper who puts his buddy in the wood chipper in Fargo, plays a psychiatrist, and the capable Kate Nelligan is relegated to a few hand-wringing scenes as Bullock's mother.

Bullock and McMahon have two little girls, portrayed as perfect, obedient children who never talk back or are loud and obnoxious. Even though that portrayal might be considered unrealistic, the two young actors are very good in their roles, and may be the best thing about the film.

Most people either like Sandra Bullock, or can't stand her. Sometimes she can be fine, as in the aforementioned Speed, or even the fluffy Miss Congeniality. In Premonition, her performance consists of glum, frustrated, annoyed, and puzzled.

The derivative score by Klaus Badelt channels every heart-tugging or suspense-forewarning movie score cliché, but manages to be totally forgettable, if not intrusive.

In deciphering the events that transpire in Premonition, the audience will no doubt ask about Sandra Bullock's character... is she time-tripping; is she hallucinating; is she dreaming; or... is she just nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake. As this tale creaks toward its mawkish and unsatisfying ending, the obvious answer is... who cares?


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