Two stars if mediocre, that's a rule of mine in movie
reviewing and boy oh boy does it apply here. I like Denis Leary--his
supporting rols in DEMOLITION MAN and JUDGMENT NIGHT
complemented what were already good movies--but when he tries to
carry a movie himself, as in THE REF, the results are a little less than
ideal. He can only keep up the complain-about-everything motif for so
long before it gets stale, and in TWO IF BY SEA he doesn't even give
us that. His character is more of a brainless jerk than just a jerk.
And Sandra Bullock I like too, but I still think she wasn't cut
out for romantic comedies. She does about as well here as in WHILE
YOU WERE SLEEPING, only here she plays the Jersey Jew stereotype,
a Rhoda for the 90's. The thing is, Bullock is just too sweet and
appealing to pull off a brash, abrasive character like that. She's the
victim of miscasting here, in a role I'd saw was originally intended for
Marisa Tomei. Again I say, Sandra, stick to the action movies like
SPEED and THE NET, or at least pick a _funny_ script when you want
to do comedy.
So, to recap, both of their characters are unsuited to their
personalities. In addition, the idea of a Denis Leary-Sandra Bullock
team-up in the first place isn't something nature ever intended.
(What's next? Howard Stern and Kathie Lee Gifford?) The premise
here has Leary as a small-time thief and Bullock as his lover. He's just
stolen an antique painting and is trying to shake the cops. It opens
with the traditional car chase and proceeds to a traditional train chase,
before the two of them find a vacant island mansion to lay low in until
their buyer shows up.
Nothing original so far, and if you stick around for the rest of
the movie, you'll see Leary try to get back to nature by going fishing
(He ends up shooting the fish. Ha!), a cultured neighbor try to steal
Bullock away from insensitive Leary and Leary act like a shot-fish-
out-of-water at the neighbor's cocktail party. All of these are second-
rate sitcom and movie cliches that are reworked here with nothing
original or amusing to add.
All the while, a group of the dumbest criminals you've ever
seen and a detective are in the process of tracking Leary down to get
the painting back. It all leads to a predictable, absurd climax, a
suitable bookend to this dull comedy. You know, I heard Denis Leary
say he devoted two years of his life to scripting this movie. It wouldn't
have hurted to give it another two... if by sea, of course.
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks