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Two If By Sea

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Two If By Sea

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary
Director: Bill Bennett
Rated: R
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: January 1996
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Suspense

*Also starring: Stephen Dillane, Yaphet Kotto, Mike Starr, Wayne Robson, Jonathan Tucker, Michael Badalucco, Lenny Clarke, John Friesen

Review by Andrew Hicks
2 stars out of 4

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

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