I See Wet People
DVD Critics Corner takes a look at another film featuring one of our favorite actors: Paul Giamatti.
Lady In The Water (2006) Director: M. Night Shyamalan Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard Rating: PG-13 for scary creatures and general creepiness
If you are a parent, I have nothing but love and respect for you. Raising children is a difficult job requiring lots of patience, love, and dedication. I tip my hat to you. However, no matter how great you think you are at guiding the younglings through life and shaping their impressionable little minds, I have some bad news for you.
M. Night Shyamalan is a better parent than you will ever be.
Why? Well I read the “Sixth Sense” director writes his own original bedtime stories to read to his kids, which is far superior to what normal everyday overworked parents do: tuck their kids in and let them drift off to sleep to the soothing sounds of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
One of the stories Mr. Night created for the kiddies was an elaborate tale featuring a race of water dwelling humans, evil wolves and gigantic eagles, because when I was a small child thoughts of freakish predatory animals was exactly what helped me get to sleep in a dark bedroom.
Shyamalan’s bedtime story became the 2006 film entitled Lady In The Water, and at the risk of spoiling things for you, this film contains no shocking plot twist at the end, no brilliant story reversal to catch you off guard, just veteran character actor Paul Giamatti trading dialogue with a perpetually damp Bryce Dallas Howard, a woman whose complexion is so fair she makes Casper The Friendly Ghost look like George Hamilton.
Giamatti plays Cleveland Heep, a lonely superintendent in a Philadelphia apartment building who finds a naked lady (Howard) frolicking in the swimming pool. Before you can cue the sexy porn music, the naked lady named Story tells Cleveland that she’s not exactly from Philly.
Turns out she’s a storybook character; a water nymph/faerie called a narf who has come to our boring normal reality to find a human called the “vessel,” who is destined to save us mankind, then return to her world, which you can get to by going past Narnia then hanging a left at NeverLand. If you find yourself in Middle Earth, you’ve gone too far.
Of course poor Cleveland can’t just call a limo company and dump the naked girl into a Towncar. “The Great Eatlon,” which looks like a large CG sparrow is the only creature capable of taking Story home, and adding even more complications, some wolf like creatures called Scrunts have also come to this world, determined to have our naked visitor for dinner before she can complete her mission. Oh, and there are monkey beasts in the trees.
And I though Philadelphia sucked because of their sports teams.
Because doing battle with grass covered wolf creatures with a naked chick is much more interesting than unclogging a toilet in 5G, Cleveland buys this crap and helps Story locate “the vessel,” a blocked writer (played by M. Night Shyamalan himself) whose unfinished book is destined to change the world, and probably get him a top spot in Oprah’s Bookclub.
With her mission accomplished and the writer finishing his great book of world changing stuff, Cleveland recruits other tenants in the building to help Story catch her giant bird home before the Scrunts close in.
Now I can believe in water nymphs and wolves covered in astroturf, but the movie totally lost me when they expected me to believe that tenants in apartment buildings actually know each other, converse with each other, and help each other in dangerous situations.
In the 13 years I’ve lived in my apartment, the only thing I know about the others in my building is someone on the second floor has a dog and in 2003 a pretty female tenant I passed on the stairs actually acknowledged me when I said hello to her.
In conclusion, leave your suspension of disbelief in the bottom drawer when you watch Lady In the Water. In fact, give your suspension of disbelief fifty bucks and the car keys and tell it to head to Appleby’s and load up on appetizers when you watch Lady In the Water.
And just for the heck of it all you Moms and Dads, tuck your kids in tonight and tell them some made up creepy-ass tale of a race of evil half bat/half goat creatures that live in the old oak tree out back who only come to life when children lie to their Mothers or say the F word in front of company.
Trust me, it’ll be good for them.