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Lady in the Water (2006)
Pedantic, contrived exercise in tedium and boredom
As someone who loved The Sixth Sense and Signs, and who liked Unbreakable, I've got to say it's disappointing where Shyamalan seems to be taking his movies.
Lady in the Water has none of those attributes. For one thing, it's boring, something none of his other movies were. Here we have a sloppily unstructured mess of a film filled to the brim with incoherent bedtime story "mythology" that changes from one minute to the next, so even if you try and follow the world of the story your efforts will only be met with frustration. The film's flaws are many, and as others have and will point them out with much more dexterity than me, I'll simply list the films greatest foibles.
1) Shyamalan casts HIMSELF as a John the Baptist character who will inspire "a great leader who will change everything" from a hastily constructed presumable political treatise entitled, of all things, The Cookbook. Give me a break! As someone who styles himself as a modern day Hitchcock, M. Night should take a page from that man's book and continue to play cameo roles, not central ones.
2) His supporting characters are a mish-mash of ethnic and cultural stereotypes. The "Asian" student who attends university but cannot string together a coherent English sentence. Of course the otherworldly "mythology" is the remnant of some vaguely Eastern legend based on truth. The old Jewish woman is tackily dressed and her husband is always in the bathroom. Please.
3) The film/movie critic is one of the ONLY interesting and rounded characters, and Shyamalan kills him off as he rattles off trite contrivances. This character's appearance seems like a defensive self-conscious way to preempt the critical panning of this film. When a writer forces one of his characters to go on the defensive in dialogue, you know something has got to be wrong with a movie.
4) Shyamalan continues his now hackneyed convention of having a protagonist who's suffered tremendous loss in the form of familial death. Enough Already. Paul G is a great actor, the unnecessary back story about a dead family and a lost medical practice trite and out of place.
The list goes on and on, but suffice it to say this movie is a waste of celluloid, or hard drive space if you'd prefer. Avoid like plague.