Life in the Slow Lane

September 23, 2008

‘Nights in Rodanthe’ extraordinarily average

Filed under: Movies — pauljlane @ 3:25 pm

For every time you see David slay Goliath, there are 99 other times where the expected outcome will take place and the giant will win.

“Nights in Rodanthe” is firmly entrenched in the latter category.

The love story stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane, which in itself should be pretty much all you need to know about what you’ll get here. Both deliver decent performances, but they are given absolutely no room to soar in a script that’s as unsurprising as you could possibly get. Every chick flick stereotype is here.

Terse initial interactions? Check.

Sassy best friend? Check.

Dance sequence? Check.

Gradual realization of a mismatched romance in bloom? Check.

Heart-tugging twist at the end? Check.

None of that seemed to matter to many of the theater-goers during the screening we went to, as more than a few sniffles could be heart in the film’s concluding moments. So while you know exactly what you’ll get here, perhaps that’s what you’ll want.

Before you get to the inevitable ending, you start with Lane as a divorcee with an introverted boy and rebellious teen girl who blames her for the split with her dad. She agrees to watch her best friend’s North Carolina beachhouse while she’s away, with Gere as the lone guest during that time.

Not to be outdone in the baggage department, Gere – who plays a doctor – is in town to talk with the husband of a woman who died during a freak accident on his operating table. He’s also dealing with a son who moved to a small South American village to provide medical care (the son’s also a doctor) and blames his dad for much of what went wrong in his life.

While initially turned off by his host, Gere’s doctor quickly begins to warm up to her, the two eventually sharing drinks over dinner and a game of Spam basketball (they actually decided to clean out the kitchen cupboards, but all that really matters is they needed an excuse to bring the characters closer). And close they got in the aftermath of a wicked hurricane, which (all too conveniently) knocked out the lights for the night.

Just as the relationship begins to bloom, the doctor decided to find his son in South America. While awaiting his return, Lane’s character learns to – wait for it – appreciate life and what she has to offer the world.

Don’t go to this movie if you want anything different from the norm; there simply is nothing new whatsoever offered here. But if you enjoy the familiar, comfortable feel of a romantic story, “Nights in Rodanthe” might be worth cozying up with for a while.

GRADE: C

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