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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2001

Movie Scene
At the Movies: 'Angel Eyes'

By David Germain
AP Movie Writer

"Angel Eyes," released by Warner Bros., is rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality. Running time: 103 minutes.
She can't love because of a turbulent family history. He can't love out of fear he'll once again lose those dearest to him.

They meet, they sidestep a little, finally click and have some laughs, then drive off toward happiness together towing the end credits behind them, all in a brisk 90 minutes.

If only.

"Angel Eyes," starring Jennifer Lopez and Jim Caviezel, is a curious concoction that has its fingers in way too many pies: moody urban malaise, buddy-cop drama, family estrangement past and present, the torment of guilt and the promise of new romance.

There are about five different movies going on here, any one of which could have been absorbing on its own.

But it feels as though director Luis Mandoki tossed them all in the blender and pressed "puree." The result is a beverage with so many flavors, you can never single any of them out to savor.

Then there's the movie's amorphous title, apparently picked to justify the tight shot of Lopez's eyes in advertising materials. The film has a loose theme of heaven-sent salvation, but "Angel Eyes" is more a bland appellation for marketing purposes than anything organic to the story.

Lopez plays Chicago police officer Sharon Pogue, a tough cookie wound tightly and closed off emotionally. Sharon's one of the boys, hanging out for bull sessions with her male colleagues, one of whom tells her he knows she likes graveyard shifts "because you can't sleep at night."

"Angel Eyes" opens on a car wreck one rainy night, viewed from the perspective of a critically injured, unseen victim.

Sharon, our woman in blue, appears from the chaos of rushing paramedics and swirling ambulance lights to hold the victim's hand, pleading, "Stay with me."

A year later, a street creature who calls himself Catch (Caviezel) wanders the city in ghostlike uncertainty, alive, but seemingly half in this world and half in the next.

One day, he spies Sharon at her cop hangout and finds himself oddly drawn to her. Three guesses what their past connection might be, and if you need the last two guesses, you haven't been paying attention.

Later, when Sharon's about to get offed in a struggle with a thug, Catch comes to her rescue. Sharon doesn't recognize him, but she feels the same pull as he does, and they begin taking shuffling steps toward love.

Both prove inept at the relationship thing. She's afflicted with memories of her mother's abuse by her father and the ostracism that followed when Sharon took steps to stop it.

Catch is selectively amnesiac, haunted by remorse of the greatest loss imaginable that rainy night a year earlier.

While Lopez and Caviezel have good chemistry, the relationship develops ploddingly Ò a revelation here, a dab of empathy there, making for a fitful time.

"Angel Eyes" plays out a bit like "The Fisher King," without the humor or the pulse.

Lopez has shown charm, dramatic flare and real star quality even in bad movies such as "The Wedding Planner" and "The Cell," and the same holds for her performance here.

Caviezel nicely captures the anguish of the walking wounded, and there's good support from Terrence Howard as Sharon's partner and Sonia Braga as her mother.

"Angel Eyes" has plenty of brooding, engaging atmosphere, but just because something's dark and pensive doesn't mean it has substance.

And all those ingredients Mandoki is mixing never do shake out to a satisfying whole.