He Said/She Said #11: Forces of Nature
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
I find myself defending this movie to pretty much anyone that’s ever seen it (read my full movie review). At first, I thought maybe I liked it because when I first saw it at the theater, it was with a great friend and it was part of a fun night. But I’ve seen it four times since then and each time I can’t help but really enjoy this film. It has some of the old clichés of every romantic comedy, but it adds enough of a twist and features such great characters that it stands above some of the pedestrian rom-coms we normally get.
The best part about the film is the relationship between the two leads, played by Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock. There’s a typical rom-com formula that their relationship should follow, but what’s refreshing is that they don’t end up where you think they will. Yet they still manage to help each other and inspire one another to be better people. Director Bronwen Hughes adds a great style and lifts the movie to even a higher level with some nice directing.
The film got a bad name because people were sick of Ben Affleck and tired of the same old rom-com from Sandra Bullock. But I’ve always enjoyed this film as a welcomed twist to the tired rom-com fare. Affleck and Bullock turn in very natural, charming performances and you genuinely care about them and the issues they’re dealing with. FORCES OF NATURE isn’t the most popular choice, but it’s one of my favorite rom-coms and has proven to stand up to repeated viewings.
I’m a big fan of romantic comedies, even ones that are not so great are usually ok in my book because I just like the genre in general. So it really took me by surprise when my significant other went on and on about how great this film was when I really didn’t like it at all.
I didn’t like the film for two reasons, the first being Sandra Bullock’s character. I really love Ms. Bullock as an actress, she’s fun, adorable and has great comedic timing. There are only a couple of films that I don’t like her in and this was one. I found her “free-spirited” character to be disingenuous and a little obnoxious at times. I had a very difficult time connecting to her and that really doesn’t swing in a rom-com. Maybe if her and Affleck’s characters were reversed I would have felt differently about the movie–but probably not because of my next reason.
The second thing I didn’t like about the film was the story: a fiancé who meets a woman on the way to his wedding and it changes his perspective on life. Let me be clear that I don’t really like this plot line in any film but especially not in my romantic comedies. I don’t like to watch a “home wrecker” situation unfold even if it is supposed to be funny. Rom-coms are supposed to be happy, fun and formulaic, and even though things work out in the end, it was uncomfortable getting there. I’m all for new and innovative ways to make a rom-com, but FORCES OF NATURE is not the answer.