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Six Days Seven Nights

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Six Days Seven Nights

Starring: Harrison Ford, Anne Heche
Director: Ivan Reitman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: June 1998
Genres: Action, Romance

*Also starring: David Schwimmer, Temuera Morrison, Lajos Koltai

Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Without conflict we would have no comedy, no melodrama. You can't blame writers and directors of romantic comedy, then, for putting two opposites together to see what they will make of their relationship. In Neil Simon's "California Suite," high-strung New Yorker Hannah Warren visits her laid-back ex, Bill Warren in California, though nothing comes of the meeting. In Nicholas Evans's novel "The Horse Whisperers," high-strung New Yorker Anne MacLean invokes the skills of laid-back Montanan Tom Becker. In the movie version, nothing much ultimately comes of that, either. In Michael Browning's "Six Days, Seven Nights" directed by Ivan Reitman, high-power magazine editor Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) requires the services of laid-back charter pilot Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford). Quinn has a bimbo dancer girl friend, Angelica (Jacqueline Obradors) in French Polynesia and is content with his life, while Robin has a new fiance, Frank Martin (David Schwimmer) and likes her big-city job. Quinn and Robin appear as unlikely as Hannah and Bill and Tom and Annie to make more permanent arrangements from their association.

"Six Days Seven Nights" is billed as a vacation that you won't find in any travel brochure, though organizations like Outward Bound might dispute this as would the creators of Nicolas Van Orton's holiday in David Fincher's "The Game." What seems like a brief respite for Robin and Frank on a resort island near Tahiti turns into a scare-and-affair break for the newly engaged couple. Frank and Robin are taking a honeymoon in paradise BEFORE they marry. The difference is that both honeymoon with people other than their fiances.

The story opens in a New York office of a Cosmopolitan- style magazine called Dazzle, where Robin is an assistant editor whose boy friend surprises her with a couple of tickets to Polynesia. After arriving, they hire rugged, uncomplicated charter pilot Quinn Harris to take them on a small hop to a place not to far from Tahiti. When Robin is begged by her boss in New York to take a quick assignment in Tahiti, she hires Quinn once again for the extra trip, reluctantly, since the plane is a heap apparently left over from World War II and Quinn is not too skillful at holding his liquor. When an unexpected storm downs the plane in a deserted cove just short of Tahiti, Quinn and Robin must make do, living off the land, while they await help that may never arrive. Chief among their hardships is a series of skirmishes they endure with a small band of pirates equipped with Uzis and missiles, while boyfriend Frank, who remains safely behind, is seduced by Quinn's girlfriend, Angelica.

The picture is the essential male fantasy: the handsome, womanizing, man caught in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful young and lively woman. Though Robin goes through the motions of ribbing Quinn for his inability to get her to her destination, you can see that she has eyes for this guy who is much older than her fiance but unlike him does not wear a stick in his back. Anne Hache may surprise gossip columnists who have said she would not be able to play romantic leads with a man. Her chemistry with Harrison Ford is powerful, occasionally sentimental, but chiefly of the merrily teasing variety. When the adorable Ms. Hache's eyes light up under her closely-cropped locks, you may think of Lillian Gish playing the ingenue Anna Moore in D.W. Griffith's "Way Down East," though at heart she is every bit the urban sophisticate with a witty line for every mishap. "Aren't you one of those guys they send out in the wilderness with a Q-tip and a pocket knife and they build you a shopping mall?" she heckles while Quinn tries to fix the plane. Quinn replies, "I'm the best pilot you'll ever see," but is trumped by Robin's "I've flown with you twice and you crashed half the time." When Quinn acts to remove a snake that has crawled up Robin's shorts, she is not displeased but warns, "Don't let me catch you smiling."

The scenes involving the keystone pirates are downright silly and Mr. Ford is out of his element in his type of comedy. We're embarrassed to see him falling flat-out drunk in a bar where he hits on Quinn, too blind to realize that she is not a stranger but the woman who hired him that very day to fly her to the island. As a whole, the movie is too lightweight even by summer standards, though Michael Chapman's camera captures all the rugged beauty of the Hawaiian island of Kauai (standing in for French Polynesia) and might lead many theatergoers to change their vacation plans. What's that Aloha plane doing in Tahiti, anyway?

Copyright 1998 Harvey Karten

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