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While You Were Sleeping

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: While You Were Sleeping

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Rated: PG
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: April 1995
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Peter Gallagher, Jack Warden, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, Micole Mercurio, Jason Bernard, Michael Rispoli, Ally Walker

Review by Andrew Hicks
2½ stars out of 4

And while I was watching, I was wondering why this was such a popular movie. Sure, it's a good date movie, but I saw this movie on residence hall cable with my militant "Wings"-obsessed roommate (the one I've been berating mercilessly in my comedy diary "Another Year in the Life of a Nerd." Check it out sometime.), so I think we can throw the romantic element right out the window, just like I'd love to toss that damn hat he always wears right out the window. But that's not something I should go into in this separate manuscript.

Even without the romantic element, I still expected to like WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING for its comedic element and the element of tungsten.... Sorry, we nerds know the Periodic Table like the back of our hands. You can't even call yourself a nerd if you don't know the atomic mass of Ytterbium (163.0, of course). And before that pitiful digression, I was going to list Sandra Bullock, the movie's glamorous yet seemingly down-to-earth star, as the movie's other major element of appeal. As always, Bullock's charm and beauty remains intact, but her performance, like everything else in the movie, seems lackluster. Maybe it proves Bullock should stick to action movies like The Net and Speed rather than cutesy comedy.

Bullock plays a lonely subway employee (that's half her problem right there--what guy's going to date someone that works for the transit system?) who has a classic case of unrequited love (you think I don't know what that's like?!) for a man that comes by every morning. One of those mornings he happens to fall on the subway track and Bullock is the one to come to the rescue and save his life. The poor guy's in a coma, yes, and when she visits him at the hospital, a little misunderstanding ensues, with the nurse blurting out to the guy's family that Bullock is his fiance.

And as you know, you can't have one misunderstanding in a movie without several hundred others ensuing, so Bullock plays along with the masquerade for whatever reason. The guy stays in his coma while Bullock wins over the family, while slowly finding herself in a dilemma--she now loves the unconscious one's brother. But she can't make a move because she's engaged to a guy she's never spoken to. If I had a dime for every time that's happened to me....

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING is a pretty good movie, but not nearly as good as I was expecting. That may have to do with the lack of romantic atmosphere during my screening (watching a romance movie with the one person you'd most like to stick red hot pokers in the eyes of probably has that effect) but it also has to do with Bullock's half-hearted performance and lack of quality writing. The movie is too predictable in plot and humor. About halfway through, I started finishing all the character's jokes before they did based on the setups. Of course I did have a copy of the script sitting in front of me....

Copyright 1995 Andrew Hicks

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