New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
Review in a Hurry: This silly romance—about a hunky time traveler (Eric Bana) and the woman who loves and waits for him (Rachel McAdams)—might placate those jonesing for the next Nicholas Sparks-esque sap-athon. But others will wanna be transported to another theater.
The Bigger Picture: Oh, how cruel Fate conspires to keep preternaturally pretty lovers apart—whether it's a curse (Ladyhawke), death (Ghost), genetic anomaly (Benjamin Button), or time warp (The Lake House). This adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's bestseller combines all of the above (except for the curse—that's on the audience) into a confounding, unsatisfying narrative that jumps around as much as its star-crossed hero.
Chicago librarian Henry (Bana) suffers from a congenital condition that causes him to involuntarily skip through years of his life. Since time-jumpers travel sans clothes, which we learned from Terminator movies, Henry is often scrambling to cover his naked bod. (Those craving some Bana beefcake should be sated.)
Crushing on Henry since she was a girl, Clare (McAdams) believes they're destined to be together, though she never knows when and how long they'll be separated. So she struggles to build a life with her true but often-vanishing love—they marry, buy a house, have a kid, etc.
We as an audience also struggle to build a relationship with Henry and Clare, but despite the best efforts of two appealing stars, they remain bland and sketchy, saddled with desperately earnest dialogue: "I've been in love with you all my life!"
Wife flirts with farce, drama, and romance, but ultimately succeeds at none. Weeper fans hoping to drain their tear ducts might also be left high and dry, since all the timeline-bending prompts more confusion than connection and raises countless questions: Where does Henry go for sometimes weeks? How can there be two Henrys in the same place at the same time? And why don't they have a three-way?
Perhaps the book fills in the blanks and emotional beats. But this Wife isn't really worth your time or travel.
The 180—a Second Opinion: It's fun watching Bana's hair change length and thickness from scene to scene—the result of re-shoots after his shaved-pate turn in Star Trek.
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