23 January 2005 | zacdawac
Can we really pull for a protagonist who is such an incredible half wit?
Besides characters played by Moe Howard or Stan Laurel, it's hard to remember a leading man who was as amazingly stupid as Kevin Kline's Richard Parker. The thing is, neither Kevin the actor or Richard the character seem to know that Richard is stupid, and the people around him, including the film's director, don't know it either. You want to pull for Richard because of what's happening to him, but he just keeps reacting in such an inane way, and digging his hole so much deeper that it's hard to care.
As far as Kevin Spacey goes, didn't his SEVEN character present himself as less of a psycho, at least on the surface? Apparently, Priscilla isn't much smarter than her husband, and the local police don't have much more going on than either of them.
This climax tries hard to create the mood of suspense in PLAY MISTY FOR ME or FATAL ATTRACTION, but by that point, after ninety minutes of watching these annoying people create their own hellish situations, why would it matter? Of course, the villain is even more annoying than the would be heroes, so you probably won't want to root for him, either.
It's difficult to remember when any of the three leads played less charismatic characters. If this film had been made in 1945, I might have cast Lou Costello, Bela Lugosi and and a leading lady more inept and annoying than any that I can think of, off the top (Jean Stapleton wasn't working yet at that point, was she?). Better casting choices today might be George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Theresa Heinz Kerry. You can figure out who would play which character, based on everything I said.