...to avoid like an outbreak of some subcontinental, incredibly deadly African virus. It’s a dreary, enervating and deeply ridiculous time-shift romance, only bearable for those with an unusually high tolerance for saccharine chick-flickery. Also required is a streak of masochism wide enough to accommodate Reeves pretending to be a soul-searching architect locked in Oedipal conflict with his distant father (Christopher Plummer, making the best of a bad gig).
Based on the 2000 South Korean film Il Mare – which at least had the good sense to wrap its ridiculous premise in a science fiction shroud – The Lake House follows two hapless losers in love (Reeves and Bullock) who begin a dull but impassioned correspondence when Bullock moves herself into the overgrown, modernist cucumber frame once occupied by Reeves (who is now in her old gaff. Well, sort of. It’s all a bit complicated thanks to a daft time paradox thingy, which, quite frankly, we don’t have the patience to explain here).
Anyway, although the pair are quite obviously made for each other (their respective letters turn up as if by magic in the old-fashioned mailbox of the titular shack), the fact that their soppy missives appear to be travelling through some kind of time-warp (see above) is a major complication.
Bit of a setback, that: a high concept that makes it impossible for the pair to physically get together. So the film piles contrivance on contrivance as it staggers to a conclusion of forehead-slapping stupidity.
None of this is helped by pseudy, philosophical ponderings on the fate of people who live in glass houses and one of those cute, scruffy mutts that can play chess and offer doleful nods of sympathy whenever their owner unloads his/her burdens on them. Yeah, that bad.
Factory-standard tear-jerker with an insultingly dumb, Twilight Zone twist. Bullock is (just about) watchable, Reeves is not.