A man buys a house on Manhattan, uninhabited for decades - except the ghosts of the previous owner and his wife. They meddle in his love life.A man buys a house on Manhattan, uninhabited for decades - except the ghosts of the previous owner and his wife. They meddle in his love life.A man buys a house on Manhattan, uninhabited for decades - except the ghosts of the previous owner and his wife. They meddle in his love life.
This wants to be a romantic comedy about eternal love. However it fails in two areas romance and comedy. The story is very simple man loses girl, man meets ghosts, ghosts help win back girl. However it feels so heavy you'd think you're watching War & Peace. This effect isn't helped by the total lack of laughs in this `comedy'. Few if any of the lines are funny (mainly because they totally lack any sort of charm or wit) but what makes it worse is that the actors are playing to the laughs! There are plenty of scenes where gaps seem to have been left in dialogue or in routines to allow the audience to finish rolling in the aisles. These may only be a split second long, but in the absence of laughter they feel longer.
I watched this with another Caine comedy `Without a Clue'. That was average as well but his performance really lifted it. Here he can't do the same his character is charmless and occasionally resorts to mugging to get by (witness his dancing after returning from Rio). Similarly Maggie Smith has nothing to do and feels too snobbish to be likeable. The relationship between the two is also dry and it's unfortunate that their `eternal' relationship is supposed to be the model for true love. Spader, who can do good given the chance, seems totally out of his depth with his two classy co-stars. He resorts to doing some sort of sub-par Hugh Grant impersonation full of stuttering and blinking when under pressure, except he can't make it seem charming in the same way that Grant can (when he's on form) and his character quickly becomes shallow and uninteresting.
The film collapses to a happy ending at a new years party but by then any interest I had in the characters had evaporated. The film is only about 90 minutes long but it felt like 3 hours, every scene felt dull and dragged out.
Overall, even with Caine, Smith and Sam Shepherd filling out an impressive cast list this totally fails to impress. It's not that it's the worst film ever made but it's an average story, with average characters, average performances and comedy that totally misses the mark. The end result? A dull, unfunny film that is impossible to care about or enjoy.
- bob the moo
- Mar 19, 2002