Monday, June 15, 2015

Angel Eyes

1.5/4

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Jim Caviezel, Terrence Howard, Sonia Braga, Jeremy Sisto, Shirley Knight

Rated R for Language, Violence and a Scene of Sexuality

Bring on the suds!  "Angel Eyes" is a would-be tearjerker that is too dim-witted and too inept to provoke any streaming of tears in anyone except those who will cry if they see a little kid get a paper-cut.  In fact, there are definitely times when the film ventures into self-parody.

Sharon Pogue (Lopez) is a cop working in Chicago.  There is a mysterious man watching her, but instead of confronting him, they just exchanged soulful glances at each other.  It's a good thing too, since he saves her from getting shot by a criminal.  When she invites him out with her buddies in thanks, sparks fly.  His name is Catch (Caviezel), and he's kind of an odd duck: polite, innocent, but socially awkward ("I was imagining what you looked like without your clothes," he tells her.  It's not what he meant, but you get the idea).  However, he's got some obvious secrets, and the harder Sharon falls for him, the more she needs to know who this man is.

"Angel Eyes" is "Twilight" for adults.  It's all about these two posturing around the one thing they want (in Sharon's case) or need (in Catch's case) to talk about.  Far too much time is spent watching them argue about Catch's demons.  She wants him to let her in, but he's in denial.  Yawn...  It might have worked with more honesty, but director Luis Mandoki (never a director with much talent) is content to keep things on the surface level.  For a TV soap opera, that's okay, but an audience has the right to expect more from a feature film.

Neither of the two leads possesses great thespian abilities, and what little skills they have are certainly not on display here.  Lopez's case might be in part due to miscasting (she looks good in a uniform, but I had a tough time buying her as "one of the guys").  Jim Caviezel, on the other hand, gives a flat, lifeless performance.  Normally a low-key actor, Caviezel overdoes the wounded, emotional hunk type to the point where Catch is easy enough to ridicule.  The two also share very little chemistry, which makes the film all the more dull.  The other actors are wasted.

Part of the reason the film misfires is because of the script.  In addition to being overlong and poorly constructed, there are more than a few lines that are unintentionally funny.  The film is too sudsy to be enjoyable as camp, but there is some of that masochistic quality on evidence here.

The film also suffers from some rather obvious problems on a more basic scale: awkward editing, uneven pacing, and a lack of rhythm.  In other words, this is just another case of bad storytelling.

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