Movie Review: Lady in the Water
The one thing this movie does well is provide interesting and amusing characters. For instance, there is the young guy who is doing a "science experiment" by only working out the right side of his body (gee, I wonder why), the very large Hispanic family with five very loud and verbal daughters, and the young Asian woman going to college while living with her mother. Watching the dialogue between those two makes me alternate between cringing and laughing. Then, there is Cleveland Heep (Giamatti) who is the superintendent of The Cove apartments. I must say that Giamatti does very well portraying him, and I had not realized from the trailers that this character is a stutterer. He must have done his homework, because he was very convincing. Bryce Dallas Howard plays "Story", the water nymph from the "Blue Place". She does an okay job - nothing ever jumps out at me as spectacular.
The movie is based on a bedtime story that Shyamalan tells his little girls. I feel sorry for them, because parts of this were scary, especially the scrunt (wolf-like creature who hide in the grass) who prowl around the property while trying to thwart Story's return to her Blue World. Basically, Heep discovers Story, the nymph at the apartment's pool. While trying to get her to come out of the water, he slips and falls, knocking himself unconscious. After falling in the pool, he is rescued by Story, who now thinks of him as her protector. After trying to return to her Blue World unsuccessfully, Story receives the aid of Heep as he tries to enlist the tenants' help. The story of the nymphs and scrunts is told by the older Asian woman through her daughter, since the mother does not speak English. As parts of the story are told, Heep is given clues in order to assemble a group of people to help Story. The part that is difficult for me to buy is that all of the people he assembles readily believe about nymphs and scrunts. Even the ones who are somewhat skeptical still end up going along with his plan. There are parts in the movie that are meant to be emotional, but they fell flat. Without giving away any more of the story, the ending is pretty typical - Story gets back to her Blue Place, but only after a scare with the scrunt because of a bungled attempt by the "guild" at protecting her return.
Because of the convoluted plot and the holes in the story, my rating is 5 out of 10 dancing feet. If you read other reviews about this movie, my rating is quite generous. This is because I'm giving points for the likability of the characters and the fact that I still maintain that Paul Giamatti can do no wrong as an actor.