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September 25, 2006 | by  | in Film |
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Lady In The Water

Every couple of years M. Night Shyamalan pumps out a fantastical movie that is unusual enough for the world to pay attention to. As with his previous hits The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Village, he writes, directs, produces and acts in his latest offering Lady in the Water. This time however, he breaks out of the cameo role routine and plays the prominent role of Vick, a struggling writer whose ideas are destined to change the course of history.

After the initial aborigine art-style animation about the depravity of mankind, we get to know the inhabitants of an apartment building through the building’s superintendent, Cleveland Heep. Cleveland, played by Paul Giamatti, does the maintenance rounds while trying to figure out who is swimming in the pool after curfew. You’d think that after American Splendor people would have realised that we just can’t stare at Giamatti (possibly the ugliest man in cinema) for two hours. Thank goodness for Young Soon (Cindy Cheung) who, despite stiff competition from Reggie (who is bulking up only one half of his body) is the most entertaining tenant. Young Soon pulls off the American-Chinese-rebel-bimbo with perfection, creating much needed comic relief from the supernatural moral dribble that spouts from this movie.

Cleveland discovers that it was Madame Narf in her quest to save humans from themselves who has been living in the pool, and relishes the opportunity to save her from the jaws of a rogue scrunt. Action ensues, but it is the absence of Mr. Night’s trademark twist that is disappointing.

There is some good stuff in here. For a moment in the middle I appreciated the apartment building as a microcosm of the world in which people have an essential interconnection despite not knowing what their purpose in life is. It’s a nice thought…if you are a parent telling a bedtime story to your children. Which is probably where this story should have stayed. Despite Mr. M Night’s touch of originality, Lady In The Water with its magical creatures, will remain just a CGI enhanced adaptation of a fairytale he made up for his kids.

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