The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Oceans Rise. Cities Fall. Hope Floats.

As I entered the chamber that would bring me an honest-to-God Chick Flick, I was apprehensive. I didn't know what Hope Floats was about, but the word "float" is a water word, and I was still in pain from the last time Sandra Bullock got wet.

So bravely I entered, armed with a real-life "chick" which enabled me to legally see the movie. Personally, this wouldn't have been my choice, as I hear "Last Days of Disco" has some sex in it, but I was quickly persuaded to see Hope Floats with a reminder that, as she put it, "I saw that God-awful lizard pic with you last weekend, you owe me this!"

How true.

Still, no matter how bad this movie would be, it couldn't be all bad. It starred Sandra Bullock and was not called "Speed" anything. Sandra is a sweetie. And she makes me happy.

And you know what, it really wasn't that bad of a movie.

The story is pretty darned simple. Sandra is jilted. Moves home with daughter in tow. Sulks. Meets nice guy who had a crush on her in high school. You see where this is heading, right?

Well so did I, but it still wasn't a bad yarn. The guy she meets is Harry Connick Jr. He is, as my "Chick Flick Chick" continually reminded me, quite dreamy. And he's a man's man, working with his hands, sweating all over the place. Glistening. A hunk. Like me.

The odd thing is, he can kinda act, too. I mean I've heard him croon on his albums, I've read about him packin' heat at the airports, I've visually enjoyed his Victoria Secret Model Girlfriend. But I didn't realize he could act, too. Not bad. And quite dreamy. Or so they say.

True props must be given to young Mae Whitman. She plays the troubled daughter. She's troubled. It worked for me. You go, girl! Further props to not-quite-so-young Gena Rowlands. She plays Sandra's bizarre mommy who stuffs dead creatures. She's bizarre. It worked for me. You go too, girl!

Are there problems with this movie? Sure. They introduce an entire subplot and then drop it for no reason. It gets quite schmaltzy at times, and the story is as predictable as old paste. But it kicks the living daylights out of that over-marketed lizard flick.

But I still don't know what Hope Floats is supposed to mean. They mention something about hope floating up after you wash everything else away in your life, but I didn't get it. Neither did anyone around me. Near as I can tell, the title of the film is just an excuse to do some art-house water dissolves from one scene to another. Whatever floats your boat.

The movie was directed by Forest Whitaker, the man who directed Waiting to Exhale. On-screen he's running around in Species, Blown Away and Body Snatchers. Off-screen, he's directing sensitive chick flicks. Go figure.

With every film I see, I like to learn something. Anything. This film taught me that not every movie needs to be shown in THX surround sound. Not having any big explosions or car crashes or even loud crickets to play with, the sound system got slap-happy and I heard every line of dialogue repeated in a whisper, 3-4 rows behind me. Darned annoying. Let that be a lesson to all filmmakers. Put a loud boom in each and every one of your films, no matter what. Give those massive woofers something to do!

In short, Hope Floats is a decent film. I give it 3 1/3 Babylons, but it gets that all-elusive Chick Flick Extra. Which means if you're a chick, or thinking about becoming one, you can add an entire Babylon to the movie's score. You'll like it that much more.

Most of the chicks I witnessed in the theater liked the film just fine, identifying with it, finding themselves in each situation, thinking about their own lives. Me, I was hoping Sandra would step into a shower or something.

Editor's Note:

I just want to go on record as saying: No. I was not Mr. Critic's "Chick Flick Chick." I'm a guy. I like women. I have not cried at a movie since Rudy! I'm not a sissy! Stop sending me free bath soaps!!!!

Hope Floats
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Forest Whitaker
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman and a lot of really scary stuffed beasts.

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