Sandra Bullock (“Speed”), Keanu Reeves (surprise surprise, “Speed”) and a letterbox that can transport letters backwards and forwards in time – we already know where this is going, right? “The Lake House” is really pretty humdrum, but could have been reasonably entertaining had the director put more thought into it.
The film is based on the hit Korean sci-fi romance “Il Mare” from 2000, now set in America, in the winter of 2006: Bullock plays Kate, a cynical, overworked and lonely doctor. After witnessing a fatal accident, she heads out to her old house on the lake (now deserted) to contemplate life. There she finds a letter addressed to her from the current tenant Alex (Reeves)—dated April 2004. The two find they are able to correspond through the letterbox despite living in separate time periods and (of course) they fall in love. The only problem is the two-year gap separating them. (Think a cross between the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail” with a small dash of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and you’ll get the idea.)
There’s no question that “The Lake House” is a bit of a standard chick-flick, but there are some amusing and fun moments. Bullock plays a more restrained character than she usually does and is far less irritating as a result. Reeves is, frankly, starting to look middle-aged, but he’s reasonably convincing and likeable. What really lets the film down is its ending. There is a moment in the last 15 minutes when “The Lake House” has a chance to really differentiate itself from the other drivel that’s out there but it doesn’t. What could be quite a poignant ending just recedes into one great big cliché – which is a real shame.
We wish we could travel back in time and make “The Lake House” something better than just another average Hollywood romance. But as a way to pass some time, “The Lake House” is a predictable but easy choice. It’s just a pity director Alejandro Agresti (“A Less Bad World”) didn’t take the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
Best bit: The conversations between the two characters (two-year gap notwithstanding).