Romantic comedies are very difficult to make. You need good chemistry between the actors, a good balance with the realistic and fantasy elements of the story and the ability to walk the fine line of not having things becoming too cheesy like Youâ€™ve Got Mail. However these elements come together in the wonderful film The Lake House. The Lake House is about a young doctor (Sandra Bullock) who leaves a letter in the mailbox for the next tenant of the lake house she's been renting. However, the letter is found by the owner of the home, a frustrated architect (Keanu Reeves) two years before she actually moved in. The two characters begin corresponding with each other though Bullockâ€™s character lives in 2006 while Reeveâ€™s character lives in 2004. Soon they realize that somehow their letters are traveling through time and slowly a relationship between the two develops.
The Lake House is enjoyable to watch because you actually get to see the romantic relationship between the characters develop. Instead of hoping into bed with each other soon after they meet, the characters are forced to cultivate a real relationship and feelings for each other. And unlike many romantic comedies (Sleepless in Seattle) you actually want the characters to meet. The few times Reeves and Bullock are on the screen together, it works. Both actors deliver a solid, real performance and make not only their characters seem real but they come across as normal people that we can relate to.
The film isnâ€™t perfect. Some of the subplots donâ€™t really work out like the one with Reeves and his father (played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer). And donâ€™t think too hard about some of the space-time logic in the film because it doesnâ€™t always make sense. (How could Bullockâ€™s character forget about the man she kissed at the party? What about them having the same dog? And if events in the past could affect the future then howâ€¦well, never mind. Watch the movie and youâ€™ll understand.)
But romantic comedies donâ€™t always have to make sense. What makes The Lake House compelling is that we care enough about the two characters that we want things to work out between them and that makes it easy to put the illogical elements of this film aside.
*** 1/2 Stars (out of 4)