Screenwriter Bill Kelly and time director Mennan Yapo throw every trick in the achronological-narrative book at the remarkably uninteresting story of a happy housewife forced to live the worst week of her life out of order and, in the process, confront some hard truths about her "perfect" marriage.
Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) has a handsome husband, Jim (Julian McMahon), two adorable daughters, 10-year-old Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness) and 6-year-old Megan (Shyann McClure), and a lovely home. Her perfect world is shattered when a state trooper reports that Jim died the previous day in a car crash. Devastated, Linda tells the girls the bad news and retreats into numb sleep.
When she wakes up the next day, Jim is having breakfast downstairs. Did she just have the mother of all bad dreams? And is she imagining it, or does the devoted Jim seem a little brusque as he leaves for work? Linda awakes the next day to find herself back in the Jim-is-dead nightmare: There's a half-drunk bottle of wine on the bed stand; a half-melted pile of lithium tablets in the sink; and friends and relatives, including her mother (Kate Nelligan) and best friend (Nia Long), are gathered downstairs for the wake. Linda's bleary-eyed confusion, bizarre questions and apparently irrational convictions make her look crazy as a bedbug, and the fact that little Bridgette somehow wound up with her face slashed and bruised raises the specter of child abuse. And so it goes until Linda recognizes the method in the madness — like Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, she's come unstuck in time and, having not yet lived the day of Jim's death, she may be able to avert it.
Bullock, an actress of enormous likability but limited range, is sadly miscast in this tedious philosophical thriller; she does stunned misery surprisingly well for someone whose strength is comedy, but you can't see the desperate, counterintuitive intelligence that drives Linda's frantic efforts to master the cosmic game in which she's become a pawn. Bullock gets no help from Yapo, who lets the pacing drag painfully and fails to work up the kind of atmosphere (not the same thing as dreary gloom, of which there's plenty) that can gloss over preposterous plotting. The script's vague, silly "explanation" for Linda's experiences — nature abhors a spiritual vacuum, so weird stuff happens to the faithless — is the icing on the irritation cake.
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- Released: 2007
- Rating: PG-13
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- Review: Screenwriter Bill Kelly and time director Mennan Yapo throw every trick in the achronological-narrative book at the remarkably uninteresting story of a happy housewife forced to live the worst week of her life out of order and, in the process, confront som… (more)