More than a decade after they struck sparks aboard a bomb-laden bus, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are back together in The Lake House. But be warned, Speed freaks: this high-concept romance hardly goes at 50 mph.
The Lake House is an agreeable enough wallow in amorous angst, pegged on a novel gimmick. Kate (Bullock) and Alex (Reeves) live in the same home, but two years apart, their only means of communication a mystical mailbox. "It's kind of a long-distance relationship", quips Kate.
The fantasy angle kicks in when architect Alex arrives at the eponymous stilt-supported house. He finds a message from previous tenant Kate apologising for the paw prints by the door. What paw prints? The paw prints that appear the following day.... A few confused exchanges later, the penny drops: Kate's in 2006, but Alex is living in 2004. D'oh!
A letter-based love affair ensues, meaning that our leads share little physical screen-time (aside from a smoochy interlude where Alex seeks out Kate's '04 incarnation). Still, while Reeves' Oscar shelf is likely to remain bare for another year, Bullock holds her half of the movie up well, proving that she can do subdued just as well as sunny.
"A LETTER-BASED LOVE AFFAIR"
The big plot question, 'where is Alex in 2006?', is only answered at the end. It's done messily, but the film rallies with a moving payoff. One major mystery remains, though: who'd want to live in a house that looks like it could sink into the drink at any minute?