Angel Eyes Movie Review
Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel trudge with heavy hearts through the muck of suspense/drama/romantic comedy/love story Angel Eyes -- a film with an identity crisis that rivals Plato from Rebel with a Cause.
Sharon Pogue (that's J. Lo to her fellow cop buddies and Officer Lopez to you) is a tough-as-nails beat cop working the mean streets of Chicago. Her family life was, of course, abusive, and her brother (Jeremy Sisto) played Jesus on TV. Catch Lambert (James Caviezel) is an enigmatic figure who wanders the streets shutting off the headlights in parked cars while drinking coffee only from Tully's. One day, Catch rescues Sharon from a thug with a gun to her head and they launch a little romance. The question soon arises: Is he J. Lo's guardian angel, a dangerous stalker, or just a good actor stuck in a bad movie?
The strange intervention brings the two lost souls together in a whirlwind series of stranger events. Sharon and Catch share witty dialogue about the true intentions of people. We get passionate love-making on a beach with Jim's arms carefully shielding J. Lo's breasts. We find out just why Catch doesn't drive and never shuts the door behind him. We marvel as J. Lo's shirts are cut lower and lower.
The main problem with Angel Eyes is the mediocrity and sub-standard elements of its story. Office Lopez's father is a wife-beater and has transformed his daughter into an angry shell of a woman unable to properly communicate her feelings. Catch is a shell of a man with a hidden past that drives the "surprising" plot twist which ultimately turns the film into one God-awful version of an Oprah's Book Club selection. My feet were stuck to the floor when I stood up to leave due to the sap that had poured out of the screen.
Lopez's acting is on par with Shannon Tweed and her emotional range flits among angry, confused, and sad. James Caviezel, a solid actor fresh from Frequency and The Thin Red Line, delivers a moving performance as a desperate man trying to regain his life, but it all becomes pathetic in the end as he walks circles around Office Lopez's acting attempts. To make matter worse, J. Lo and Caviezel have about as much chemistry as George Peppard and Meryl Streep.
Director Luis Mandoki, who steered the ridiculous emotional roller coaster Message in a Bottle, never gets a strong hold on the story and instead tries to mask the obviousness of the plot with "extreme" camera angles and jerky handheld camera movements.
The most disappointing thing about this film is that it will be a crowd-pleaser and it will make money. All of the emotional buttons -- anger, fear, loneliness, sadness, forgiveness, acceptance -- are pressed during all the right moments. Ultimately, Angel Eyes is a standard love story about two standard people, who, in the end drive off into the sunset with standard smiles on each of their standard, smug faces -- literally.
No Jim, I'm prettier than you are.