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!"
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
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!!!!
Directed By: Forest Whitaker
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman and a
lot of really scary stuffed beasts.