A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
"The Lake House" tells the story of a romance that spans years but involves only a few kisses. It succeeds despite being based on two paradoxes: time travel, and the ability of two people to have conversations that are, under the terms established by the film, impossible. Neither one of these problems bothered me in the slightest. Take time travel: I used to get distracted by its logical flaws and contradictory time lines. Now in my wisdom I have decided to simply accept it as a premise, no questions asked. A time travel story works on emotional, not temporal, logic.
In "The Lake House," it works like this. A woman (Sandra Bullock) lives in a glass house built on stilts over a lake north of Chicago. She is moving out and leaves a note for the next tenant (Keanu Reeves). He reads the note and sends a strange response to the address she supplies: He thinks she has the wrong house, because "no one has lived in this house for years." She writes back to disagree. It develops that he thinks it is 2004 and she thinks it is 2006, and perhaps she moved in after he left, instead of moving out before he arrived, although that wouldn't fit with -- but never mind.
This correspondence continues. They both leave their letters in the mailbox beside the sidewalk that leads to the bridge that leads to the glass house. The mailbox eventually gets into the act by raising and lowering its own little red flag. The two people come to love each other, and this process involves the movie's second impossibility. We hear them having voice-over conversations that are ostensibly based on the words in their letters, but unless these letters are one sentence long and are exchanged instantaneously (which would mean crossing time travel crossed with chat rooms), they could not possibly be conversational.
Never mind. They also have the same dog. Never mind, I tell you, never mind! I think, actually, that I have the answer to how the same dog could belong to two people separated by two years, but if I told you, I would have to shoot the dog. The key element in "The Lake House" that gives it more than a rueful sense of loss is that although Alex's letters originate in 2004 and Kate's in 2006, he is after all still alive in 2006, and what is more, she after all was alive in 2004. Is there a way for them to send letters across the gap that will allow them to meet where she was in 2004, or she where will be in 2006, or vice-versa? It is, although it involves many paradoxes, including the one that in 2004 all of this is ahead of both of them, and in 2006 Alex knows everything but Kate either knows nothing, or knows it too late to act on it. None of this prevents her letter of romantic anguish: That was you that I met!