Lake Placid

Why? Why was this movie made? David E. Kelley, husband of Michelle Pfeiffer and creator and main writer behind Ally McBeal, The Practice, and the upcoming Snoops wrote this movie about a 30 foot crocodile that somehow ends up in a lake in Maine. Bridget Fonda is the beautiful paleontologist Kelly Scott, sent in to investigate a large tooth found on the remains of a local fish and wildlife officer. Bill Pullman is Warden Jake Wells, and Oliver Platt is Hector Cyr, a rich man who likes to swin with crocodiles because he believes they are divine. Huh?

Scott doesn't really want to be there, but she has recently discovered that her boss (and boyfriend) had been cheating on her with a friend of hers, so this was a way to escape from the tension. So what? Fonda's lines in the script variate from hysterical screaming woman to smart paleontologist. Pullman gives a very monotone, boring performance as Wells, and Platt just seems out of place. All of these actors can and have done better.

So has Kelley. Ally McBeal is a wonderful show, full of quirky characters and funny dialogue, and The Practice is an excellent drama. Both are superbly acted and superbly written. But what if they mixed? Lake Placid seems to be the bastard son of their union. Suspense and comedy are interwoven, usually not successfully. There are plenty of one-lines that make you chuckle, mostly a result of the principle characters insulting each other. Betty White has a short amusing role in the movie, but the amusing part is mostly due to listening to her dialogue. Otherwise, the chemistry between the characters is bad, and you wonder why they don't really kill each other instead of working together. The story just kinds of plods along. You know where it's going, it's just a matter of waiting for it to get there.

The special effects were done by Stan Winston, special effects guy extraordinaire. Both an animatronic and digital crocodile was used in the film. On screen, the crocodile looks like a crocodile. Not bad and not great. It's just kind of there. Overall, the movie is very schizophrenic. It's not sure if it's a comedy movie, or a suspense movie, or a horror movie.

Mongoose rates it: Not That Good.
1 hour, 32 minutes, Rated R for language, and violence.

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