Reviews

Head Above Water

1

Astonishingly, Billy Zane is far and away the best thing about this movie, and Billy Zane, as we all know, is shit. Head Above Water is a misconceived and amateurishly executed film that's so bad it manages to pull off the near-impossible trick of being less funny than Weekend At Bernie's. But the most tragic thing about it is that Harvey Keitel chose to join in. (Rising Sun and Sister Act aren't even half as calamitous as this.)

Keitel, we are led to believe, is a judge, who has married youthful ex-tearaway Nathalie (Cameron Diaz). Holidaying on an island sanctuary, he decides, for no plausible reason, to leave his new bride alone in the house and go on a fishing trip. While he's away, Nathalie's ex-lover Kent (Billy Zane) turns up and tries to restart their relationship - - by acting like someone who's really bad at acting like someone who's drunk.

Needless to say, the discerning viewer won't give a monkey's chuff for Head's characters. As events (so tiresome we haven't the energy to relate them) unfold with increasing desperation - - involving lots of very unfunny hide-the-body antics and jaw-droppingly insulting plot twists - - you'll be able to do little save sink lower and lower into your seat, hoping the film-makers will realise it's all been a terrible mistake, and stop, oh please, stop.

But no. Bloody-minded beyond sanity, the buggers keep going. "Is this making any sense at all?" asks Nathalie, following a hilariously garbled plot summary. At no time does Head Above Water come even near to making sense.

More nails in Head's coffin: Diaz's contribution consists of wearing a swimsuit and pushing her hair behind her ears; Craig Sheffer, who plays infatuated friend Lance with moronic indifference, is nothing more than a chiselled jawbone; even Keitel is just wrong.

With only four characters, was Head Above Water perhaps meant to be some kind of taut ensemble piece? What we're left with is a sense that no-one else could be found who was desperate enough to get entangled in this catastrophe. Head Above Water tries to be Hitchcock but ends up just "cock"; tries to be farce but ends up just "arse". Life wasn't meant to bring us such horrors.

Verdict:

Inconceivably god-awful. This preposterous and excruciatingly unsteady farce-cum-thriller would insult the intelligence of a particularly stupid donkey. Bad, bad, bad.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: September 12th 1997

Most Popular