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Angel Eyes

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Angel Eyes

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Jim Caviezel
Director: Luis Mandoki
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: May 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Alfonso Arau, Jeremy Sisto, Sonia Braga

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

"Angel Eyes" is not much of a title for this romantic drama, which seems to get its name more from the song that spurs on the end credits than from anything in the film itself. "Eyes Half Shut" would be more relevant, given Jim Cazaviel's signature acting. Cazaviel's shtick could be interpreted as either laid back or anesthetized depending on how you view people who walk somnambulisticly through life--as he did in "Frequency" in the role of a man who misses his dad so much that he brings him back to life through the miracle of a ham radio. Once again, Mr. Cazaviel--whose overly relaxed demeanor could make you think of another Jim by the name of Stewart--proves his ability to acquire (if not exactly rivet) our attention by his very passivity, the kind of inertness that might appeal to some women as the producers hope it does in targeting this date movie to young women who manage to drag their guys to the theaters.

Then again, perhaps Jennifer Lopez is the big draw, because you won't find a heck of a lot of plot. As in every romantic drama the idea is to keep the lovers apart as long as possible, the audience knowing all along that whatever enjoins their ultimate entanglement will be resolved as the yarn winds its way to its predictable conclusion.

The Chicago P.D. provides the background, allowing officer Sharon (Jennifer Lopez) to show her stuff whether her hair is pinned up, all the better for her to deal with the sexist street punks who allow Sharon to bash their big bald heads against vehicles, or with her mane tossed suggestively about her shoulders, as when she is out on dates with handsome guys who pretend to be awed by her profession and never get beyond talking shop with her. That's all about to change when she is at the scene of a fatal car accident resulting in the death of a woman and her young son. The driver (Jim Caviezel) emerges shellshocked and in denial, refusing to visit the cemetery that holds his wife and son, resolving to pay it forward by being a good Samaritan. When he saves Sharon's life, he is about to change his own as well, helping the policewoman to work through a difficulty she faces with her family--which has become her own obstacle to a fulfilling relationship with a man.

"Angel Eyes" has a few things going for it, particularly the banter that Sharon conducts regularly with the otherwise all- male group of police officers she hangs out with. She has the uncanny ability to turn the men's sexist gags back on them, gaining their respect and the admiration of her nice-guy partner (Terrence Howard). Each time she gets together with the guy who saved her life, we expect director Luis Mandoki to pump up the music, but Mandoki appears content to let the chemistry between the two develop naturally. Gerald Dipego's screenplay, however, offers little new to the genre but provides plenty of sincere moments of non-police action to keep the plot moving without contrivance. As Sharon's folks, Sonia Braga and Victor Argo are stuck in uncomplimentary and sanctimonious roles while Sharon's brother (Jeremy Sisto) and his wife (Monet Mazur) do little but function in a trite relationship.

"Angel Eyes," then, is a mixed bag: a pleasant enough date movie for the young 'uns but a story lacking the "Sixth Sense" mystery we are teased to expect at several points.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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