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Under normal circumstances, based on poster, trailer, plot, main actors, etc., I probably would have passed on seeing "the Lake House". It looked sappy, corny, unbearably earnest. It looked like something nobody with any taste or sense of irony could like. Dismissable, that's probably the best term for it. Not necessarily bad, but not worth the time of anyone who wanted to call themselves a cinephile.

However, then, the movie led to one of the most amusing episodes of Filmspotting (aka. my favorite podcast. Ep #110, if you want to look it up). And not because it was artfully and articulately ridiculed (although Sam did quite a good job of that). No, it was hilarious mostly because of the fight it occasioned. See, Adam, to own surprise, admitted he thought the movie was quite charming. Even that *gasp* he thought Keanu gave quite a good performance.

You understand, this movie I had to see, if only for its divisive qualities. And as a friend of mine loves it unabashedly and was over to study, we decided we'd watch it as a reward.

The verdict? Who do I side with? Well... It is sappy. Corny, definitely. Unbearably earnest? Well, very earnest, in any case. Still, as much as I am a cynic, and as much as I hate to sound unhip, I see Adam's point.

Alright, I'll admit it: I am, I'm afraid, a hopeless romantic at heart. Romantic enough to accept the magic mailbox despite some glaring problems with the internal logic, in any case. Romantic enough to think "Oh, I wish people still wrote letters, that someone would send a love letter to me" instead of "why doesn't she just google him?". Romantic enough to admit that, to use Adam and Sam terminology, it got a little dusty in my room towards the end.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm not romantic enough to overlook one thing: these people are kind of boring. Actually, strike that: they're incredibly boring. So, no matter how romantic you are, it becomes a little hard to understand not only why they would fall for one another, but if we could fall in love with them.

This is tricky for the movie especially because we have to believe the characters fall in love without meeting, without even knowing what they look like, so it can't be something based purely on physical attractiveness or something else primal. It has to be about ideas, passions, about connecting on a deeper level. Kate and Alex in this movie, bond over... a walk through chicago. Loving "when it starts to rain just at the end of the picknick". Trees (I kid you not).

I like to hope that this was intentional. That they wanted to make these character everyman/everywoman. But if we're supposed to believe two people belong together and not with anyone else, there's got to be something distinctive. I've often complained about the superficial quirks assigned to characters in romcoms, but these characters don't even have quirks! Additionally, it doesn't help if your main characters are played by two of the most bland actors working today. I've defended Keanu in the past, but lonesome, tortured and pining? Not his thing. As for Sandra Bullock, well, I she's given a supposed fear of commitment, but we never really see any evidence of it. All she does, really, is look sulky.

I am a hopeless romantic. So I'll give this film a pass, if only because its refreshing to see a film where characters don't always have the perfect quip ready. And because, I admit, I was charmed for the duration of the film. But to be truly moving, truly romantic, the people have to be real people. Flawed. Damaged. Twisted even, if you really want to get my attention. And this is only a temporary substitute for the real thing.

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