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Forces of Nature

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Forces of Nature

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck
Director: Bronwen Hughes
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Ronny Cox, Bert Remsen, Maura Tierney, Blythe Danner, Steve Zahn

Review by Walter Frith
2½ stars out of 4

Suppose you are about to tie the knot. You are forced to travel on the road after your plane ride goes awry on the way to your wedding destination, a number of strangers you pass like a ship in the night strike up a friendly and time consuming conversation with you where you hear alleged horror stories about the padlock known as marriage where conservative belief is that in most cases it's all supposed to work out and things will remain rosy but the truth is that people, as different as they all are, sometimes have a hard time staying with the same person for their whole life. That is the premise behind 'Forces of Nature'.

Ben Affleck stars as Ben Holmes, a New York City writer who is engaged to a southern belle from Savannah, Georgia named Bridget (Maura Tierney). Her family is wealthy. Her father (Ronny Cox) is a straight shooting conservative businessman and her mother (Blythe Danner) voted twice for Clinton because as she puts it: "All the best presidents sleep around". Ben's mother and father are upper middle class and don't see eye to eye with their southern in-laws. As his coach flight is about to take off, a freak accident occurs that prevents the plane from taking off and Ben now has to find an alternative form of transportation. He travels with a woman who believes he saved her life named Sarah (Sandra Bullock), a free spirited woman who won't be held down by anything and travels in whatever direction the wind is blowing. They experience all the bad luck you can imagine such as the kind of fun (for the audience only) that Steve Martin and John Candy experienced in 1987's 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles'.

The film's entertainment value trickles down slowly like a pleasant light rain. It's constant and very relieving and even manages to remain very witty along the way. If you're going to tell a story about two people who learn something about each other and apply it separately to their own lives, it's a good idea to balance the amount of time each has on screen and this is done perfectly. And what really makes the film work is that neither Ben Affleck or Sandra Bullock try to upstage one another. Their personalities enhance the film extremely well and they have the perfect on screen chemistry needed to make any relationship picture work.

Director Bronwen Hughes ('Harriet the Spy'), gives his film a good pace but about half way through, it slows down considerably --- more than it should actually, but picks itself up for a satisfying conclusion.

'Forces of Nature' works for another good reason. The script by Marc Lawrence, Ian Bryce, and Donna Roth has a tendency to look for acute social observations on marriage, divorce, parenthood and relationships without making it look obvious. The film's dialogue flows so naturally that personality is the movie's strongest trait.

Copyright 2000 Walter Frith

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