It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
So I'm sitting there, looking in disbelief at the ending of "Forces of Nature,'' and asking myself--if this is how the movie ends, then what was it about? We spend two endless hours slogging through a series of natural and man-made disasters with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck, and then ... that's it? Bronwen Hughes' "Forces of Nature'' is a romantic shaggy dog story, a movie that leads us down the garden path of romance, only to abandon us by the compost heap of uplifting endings. And it's not even clever enough to give us the right happy ending. It gives us the wrong happy ending.
By then, of course, any ending is good news. The movie is a dead zone of boring conversations, contrived emergencies, unbelievable characters and lame storytelling. Even then it might have worked at times if it had generated the slightest chemistry between Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, but it doesn't. She remains winsome and fetching, but he acts like he's chaperoning his best friend's sister, as a favor.
The movie combines at least five formulas, and probably more: the Meet Cute, the Road Movie, the Odd Couple, Opposites Attract and Getting to Know Yourself. It also cuts back and forth between a journey and the preparations for a marriage, and it tries to keep two sets of parents in play. With so much happening, it's surprising that it finds a way to be boring, but it does, by cross-cutting between one leaden scene and another.
Affleck stars as an ad man who is flying from New York to Savannah, Ga., for his wedding. On the plane, he's strapped in next to Bullock, who has held a lot of jobs in her time: flight attendant, wedding photographer, exotic dancer, auto show hostess. The flight crashes on takeoff, and they end up driving to Georgia together, amid weather reports of an approaching hurricane.