Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review: Forces Of Nature 3 Stars

Finally a romantic comedy that’s actually funny rather than just being cute or sweet or You’ve Got Mail, Forces Of Nature manages to pack a hilarious punch with a spirited performance by the delightful Sandra Bullock, Steve Zahn’s brilliant comic support and a dark-in-all-the-right-places script from Mark Lawrence.

Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) is days away from his wedding to Bridget (Maura Tierney) and sinking in a quagmire of confusion and doubt. When his plane skids off the runway in New York, Ben is reticent to travel again by air, but must get to Georgia for the ceremony in a matter of days.

As happenstance would have it, Ben saves the life of Sarah Lewis (Sandra Bullock), a pretty but manic young woman who feels indebted and convinces Ben to join her as a traveling companion. A series of wacky misadventures in cars, trains and buses as well as the magical confluence of nature bring the two of them closer together and Ben must own up to his true feelings for Bridget.

While the jokes were solid and the performances were pure comedy -- Zahn as Ben’s best man, Alan stole the show -- Ben Affleck lacks the comic finesse and timing of a funnyman and many of his best lines fell out of his mouth and onto the floor with a loud clunk. At times it seemed like he was imitating various comic actors -- Adam Sandler for one -- with his uneven delivery.

In spite of Affleck, Forces Of Nature is one of the funniest romantic comedies to come out in a long, long time, mainly because the filmmakers didn’t forget the “comedy” part of “romantic comedy.”

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