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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 MrBrown
2½ stars out of 4

Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck make one hell of a sickeningly attractive couple. I saw just how much at the premiere of their romantic comedy, _Forces_of_Nature_, in Westwood last week. In person, Bullock's slow-simmering sexiness erupts to a mad boil; and Affleck perfectly complements her by appearing more boyishly handsome (and I mean _boyish_--he looks about five years younger) than he does in film. Above even their shared brunet beauty, the pair's innate charm shone through: the perky Bullock waved and smiled especially at me, and the smooth Affleck one-upped her by actually winking at me (though I, must say, I would have rather they "traded" their respective greetings).

It is that charm that carries _Forces_. Apart from Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, have two more effortlessly likable been paired onscreen? When we first meet Affleck's Ben Holmes, an uptight copywriter days away from his wedding; and Bullock's Sarah, a veritable firecracker of a young woman he meets on a plane from New York to Savannah, Georgia, we immediately want them to get whatever they want. For Sarah, it's to return to Savannah in time to sell off a bagel shop she co-owns (long story); for Ben, it's arriving in time for his wedding to one Bridget (Maura Tierney).

Come to think of it, though, the audience will probably not want Ben to achieve his goal. After a freak but fairly minor plane crash, Ben and Sarah find themselves on the road, attempting to reach their destination by train and automobile in addition to plane. Along the way, the duo find that they're not so mismatched after all, feeling, as Ben says, "a certain chemistry." And there's no disagreeing with him--Bullock and Affleck's compatibility lookswise translates into an engaging rapport.

It must be said, though, that Bullock and Affleck click more than combust, and that sort of makes the force drawing their characters together feel more like one of script mechanics than that of nature. Still, that's more than can be said of Affleck's rapport with Tierney, but the weakness there says more about Marc Lawrence's screenplay than the two actors. He and director Bronwen Hughes don't develop Ben and Bridget's relationship satisfactorily enough to make make certain crucial turns of events completely convincing.

As such, while Lawrence and Hughes do come up with some good comic scenes (a strip club scene is a highlight) and coax good performances from their Tierney, Steve Zahn (a zany delight as Ben's first man), and their two wildly appealing leads, _Forces_of_Nature_ never quite generates enough power to become sweep up the audience like the long-brewing hurricane that hits at the film's climax.

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