The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
There are few things more depressing than a weeper that doesn't make you weep. "Evening" creeps through its dolorous paces as prudently as an undertaker. Upstairs, in the big newport mansion, a woman is dying in a Martha Stewart bedroom. She takes a very long time to die, because the whole movie consists of flashbacks from her reveries. This gives us time to reflect on deep issues, such as, who is this woman?
Everybody in the film knows her, and eventually we figure out that she is Ann (Vanessa Redgrave), once the young sprite played in the flashbacks by Claire Danes. I know I must be abnormally obtuse to be confused on this question, but I persisted in thinking she might be the aged form of Lila, who as a young girl (Mamie Gummer), is getting married as the movie opens (it opens in a flashback, then flashes forward to the bed where it is flashing back from). How could I make such a stupid error? Because the mansion she is dying in looks like the same mansion Lila was married from, so I assumed old Lila was still living there. Maybe it's a different mansion. Real estate confuses me.
There are two grown daughters hanging around at the bedside: Constance (Natasha Richardson) and Nina (Toni Collette). But you can't figure out who they are from the flashbacks, because neither has been born yet. However, the flashbacks devote a great deal of time to examining how Lila has had a crush on Harris (Patrick Wilson), a young doctor and wedding guest whose mother was the family's housekeeper. Lila's brother Buddy (Hugh Dancy) also has had a lifelong crush on Harris, but his love dare not speak its name. Ann is Lila's best friend and maid of honor, and she also falls in love with Harris.
Lila is scheduled to be married on the morrow to the kind of a bore who (I'm only guessing) would be happy as the corresponding secretary of his fraternity. She does not love him, she loves Harris. I already said that. But what makes this Harris so electrifying? Search me. If he is warm, witty and wonderful on the inside, those qualities are well-concealed by his exterior, which resembles a good job of aluminum siding: It is unbending and resists the elements.