Message in a Bottle

Bomb Rating: 

There's nothing like a 6-foot-11-inch black man to screw up a short, horny white woman's fantasy about romance.

This film is based on one of those horrible novels like "The Bridges ofMadison County" which hit the bestseller list only because every middle-aged woman with an I.Q. below 85 reads it and starts yapping at bridge night about how fabulous it is that a great piece of literature could be written entirely with one-syllable words.

Remember Meg Ryan listening to Tom Hanks describe his love for his dead wife on that radio show in "Sleepless in Seattle"? Can you say plagiarism? In "Message in a Bottle," Theresa (Robin Wright Penn), hot off the divorce trail, finds a bottle on the beach with a letter in it from "G" to Catherine. Theresa tracks "G" down and discovers his name to be Garret (Kevin Costner), and Catherine to be his dead wife. He's also got a wise old dad (Paul Newman), who might possibly garner an Oscar nomination next year for "Best Supporting Actor Hired Specifically to Increase Rental Sales."

It sure is a good thing that when Theresa arrives in North Carolina Garret looks like Kevin Costner and not Kevin Garnett. There's nothing like a 6-foot-11-inch black man to screw up a short, horny white woman's fantasy about romance. Since it was Costner, I took the liberty of screaming out "he's gonna do her!" so as to alert the audience to the inevitable plot turn to follow. This unappreciated warning got me kicked out of the theater. Three screaming infants and one asshole blithering into his cell phone, and I get kicked out for doing society a favor.

They say the blind compensate with other senses, and sitting just outside the theater door, I nonetheless soon became completely attuned to just what degree director Luis ("When a Man Loves a Woman") Mandoki felt compelled to make sure the audience knew exactly how to feel. The reason: Every scene accentuates the story by belching some tune from the "Empowered Females in Heat" soundtrack, with titles like "Let Me Be On Top," "That Bulge in My Pocket is My Alimony Check" and "Meet Your New Daddy the Sailor."

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