Movie Magazine International

Lake Placid

USA - 1999

Movie Review By Monica Sullivan

If you're gonna make a movie about a giant crocodile who swallows cattle in a single gulp, it helps if the croc looks and moves like the real thing. If it doesn't, you have "Lake Placid," produced by television mogul David E. Kelley from his own script that feels like it's been hanging out in his closet since he was in high school. Bridget Fonda is Kelly Scott, a museum paleontologist who isn't much of an outdoor girl. Kelly is having an affair with her boss and receiving advice from a colleague who's having an affair with the same boss, so they get rid of Kelly by dispatching her to Maine (well, British Columbia, which is doubling for Maine) so that Kelly can investigate what appears to be a crocodile tooth.

Let's save time: It IS a crocodile tooth found in the body of a dead guy. Kelly, Game Warden Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) and Hank the sheriff (played by Brendan Gleeson) investigate! They are soon joined by Hector, the mythology professor (played by Oliver Platt, who has gained an alarming amount of weight)! Kelly and Jack bond, Hank and Hector bond, but just to prove they're not gay, Hector lunges for the chest of Sharon, the pretty deputy played by Meredith Salenger and she likes it! Yep, it sounds like a script left over from twelfth grade to me, or maybe eleventh or even tenth! Computer wizardry here is nowhere in the same league as that used to enhance the season finale of television's "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and all the juvenile dialogue, motivations and strategies really wear on your nerves from scene one.

The film's original running time was listed as 115m., but the preview screening was half an hour shorter. If the editors snipped out three reels, they did everyone a favor. As odd Mrs. Dolores Bickerman, Betty White, now 77, gets a chance to say all those four-letter words she never said on ANY of her television series dating back to the fifties. Bridget Fonda tries hard, as always, but she gets no help from this grade Z thriller with a budget.

© 1999 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 7/14/99

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