Do you like the English? Everyone will love Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors. Gwyneth is by no means as funny-looking as her first name. Actually, she's more than a little fetching.
This movie is named after the plot device that allows the film's writer to divide the story in two. In the main reality (I call it the "main reality" because it's the one with the happy ending) Paltrow's character, whose name I've forgotten, slowly wastes away with an unfaithful boyfriend. She works very hard to support his novel-writing which is actually a front for "boffing" his old lover.
In the first ten minutes of the film, Paltrow misses a subway train. But then, the movie rewinds and shows her catching the train instead! In this second version, she catches her boyfriend in the act of infidelity. If you associate the British with somewhat prudish attitudes about sex, then you won't be disappointed by how little skin or lovemaking is shown in this film about romance and destiny. Train-catching Paltrow leaves her boyfriend with some prim yet biting words-dialogue as British as Queen Victoria-and gets out on her own. She meets a great guy, slowly gets over her cold feet, and lands a plum of a job.
Unlike the tv show Quantum Leap, no explanation is given for the complex nature of this film's time-space continuum as both stories unfold disparately but simultaneously. Just chalk it up to good romantic fun! It's all destiny, you know, and if you think about it, who's to say what missed train, accidental hesitation, or momentary choice has affected your life, or mine, for better or worse? Gosh! It makes you stop and think, doesn't it?
Not to disparage this film in the slightest, but I saw it nearly two weeks before this writing. I hesitated-like Hamlet-because I didn't have much to say. I already can't recall if you get to see Gwyneth's bare breasts in one scene or not. If you rent it, please remind me. Anyway, my point is this: I like salad. It's fresh and light, and no chef worth patronizing is going to mess it up. But sometimes a little meat, or tofu, or heavy fromage will stick to your bones in a certain satisfying way that salads just can't get. Now, Sliding Doors is a plenty good salad-there's crutons, capers, I think I even got a few mandarin orange slices in there-but I would have felt fuller with some chicken or blue cheese in there.
If you like British culture, you'll simply love this film for its countless and repeating references to such British luminaries as Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Beatles and Elton John too. My advice is to wait until your romantic partner requests it before you watch it. As a date movie, it can pave the way to one of those wonderful, passionate evenings when you can't help but make out, while the movie fades into the background.
IN CINEMA 2:
Adam Sandler stars as the inimitable Happy Gilmore
Have you ever received an invitation to a party that you didn't feel particularly excited about? You thought you might go anyway, but you weren't planning on anything superlative. But then, the party turns out to be fairly good. In fact, it's downright fun! Wow!
Okay, I don't have to hold your hand through this. When you pick up this box at the video store, you know what you're getting, and what you're getting isn't much. From the cover, I expected a lame version of Caddyshack. I wouldn't even have rented it, except my little cousin was visiting from Portland. He saw me with it, and said, in no uncertain screaming, that he wanted to see it.
Fine. I knew it was going to be silly, lighthearted, a romp at the lowest common denominator. And it was, but there were several very funny scenes, and that made it seem all the better.
For one, Bob Barker beats up Adam Sandler, an act that forever improved my feelings about Bob. For another, the concept, though milked like an adorable, big-eyed cow, is at least a 7 on the clever-o-meter. Sandler, a hockey buff, hits a golf-ball on a bet, and because he's thinking "hockey," he turns out to have a naturally powerful drive.
Golf fans will truly appreciate the near-continual narration of off-screen announcers during the game sequences-it's like you're really watching a golf game, and not a comedy movie at all. Hockey fans will like the extreme violence that Gilmore brings to the "gentlemen's putting game." Crocodile-wrestling fans will also love this movie.
If you are a member of the "lowest common" for whom this denominator is set, this is as much a must-see as Ace Ventura Pet Detective. If you know any member of this set, you can watch it with them and get as many laughs watching them roll on the floor as you do watching Ben Stiller threaten old people.
Another point for Joe Flaherty's small, subtle, but very funny performance. All he has to do is open his mouth, and it's funny. Also look for Phil Hartman giving a performance, too; he's also in it. And some others too!
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.