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Forces of Nature

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Forces of Nature

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck
Director: Bronwen Hughes
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genres: Comedy, Romance


*Also starring: Ronny Cox, Bert Remsen, Maura Tierney, Blythe Danner, Steve Zahn



Review by Greg King
3 stars out of 4

Sandra Bullock seems intent on establishing herself as Hollywood's queen of romantic comedies. However, she is hampered by the fact that most of her films seem to come from the scripts that Meg Ryan rejects. Such is the case with Forces Of Nature, an unspectacular romantic comedy exploring the attraction between opposites and the role that fate and destiny play in changing our lives. In many ways, it also seems like an unsatisfactory version of Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. Mild mannered and straight laced Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) is about to be married to Bridget (Maura Tierney, from Liar Liar, etc). Unfortunately, his plane crashes on take-off, stranding Ben in New York, with only a couple of days left to get to the wedding. That's when he meets the free spirited and unconventional Sarah (Bullock), whose life has been shaped by a lack of commitment and responsibility. She offers to get him to the church on time if he will agree to perform one small favour in return.

This mismatched couple share a journey, fraught with tension and strange encounters, which also redefines their unfulfilled lives. Ben learns to lighten up and have some fun in his routine life, while Sarah is brought to a realisation of what she has missed due to her lack of commitment. Meanwhile in Savannah, the wedding preparations are further threatened by rising hurricane force winds and imminent marital storms. Bridget also learns that her parents' seemingly happy marriage is a little more unsteady than she thought.

The forces of nature seem to be conspiring to tell Ben something. If only he can take the hints and learn which way the wind is blowing (metaphorically speaking) he may be able to make the right decision that will shape his future.

Writer Marc Lawrence (Life With Mikey, the upcoming remake of The Out Of Towners) throws in a number of mixed messages about the institution of marriage. However, Forces Of Nature offers little that is new to the basic formula. This is only a moderately entertaining film that will leave many in the audience feeling vaguely unsatisfied, especially with the rather conventional ending. The film is patchy, and ultimately fails to follow through with its interesting premise. Director Bronwen Hughes (Harriet The Spy) brings little subtlety to the material, and there are a number of scenes that misfire.

Affleck is rather good as the stiff and initially humourless Ben who learns to unwind and treat life as an adventure. Bullock brings energy and enthusiasm to her role, and seems more comfortable here than she has for some time. The film relies heavily upon its star power to succeed, but unfortunately that just isn't enough here!

Copyright 2000 Greg King

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