Directed by Mennan Yapo. Starring Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Nia Long, Kate Nelligan, Amber Valletta, Peter Stormare. (2007, PG-13, 110 min.)
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., March 23, 2007
Now you see him, now you don’t. That’s the time-tripping premise of Premonition, a mess of a movie that can’t decide whether it’s an existential thriller or a karmic riff on carpe diem, failing ultimately on both grounds. One Wednesday afternoon, a police officer informs a vaguely discontented housewife, Linda (Bullock), that her husband, Jim (McMahon), was killed in a car accident the day before. Paralyzed with grief, she falls asleep on the couch that night only to wake up in her own bed, wearing different clothes. And there’s something else that’s a bit puzzling: She finds Jim downstairs in the kitchen drinking coffee before leaving for work. From this point, Linda bounces back and forth like a pinball on the time/space continuum, struggling to maintain her sanity as she tries to piece together what happened on that fateful day and to decide whether she – upon finding out the truth – wants to change the turn of events. In other words, she’s trapped in her own version of Groundhog Day, except that this movie has nowhere near the depth or charm of that delightful comedy. (Unless, of course, the scene in which Linda finds an again-alive Jim in the shower is intended to pay homage to the final episode of the seventh season of Dallas. If that’s the case, maybe this movie rocks a little after all, but its solemn tone suggests otherwise.) As Bill Kelly’s script becomes more preposterous as it goes along, you find yourself looking for holes in the script, of which there is a multitude. And once Premonition takes an abrupt right turn to attest to the “dangers of the faithless,” the minutes start dragging interminably toward a mechanically trite climax that makes little sense in light of the faith-based theme. Wasted in too many silly comedies as of late, Bullock gamely tries to break free of her girl-next-door trappings here, but no amount of acting chops could have overcome the handicaps imposed by this movie. She’s an appealing presence with yet-untapped talents who deserves better than this. If only Bullock could have foreseen how bad Premonition would turn out to be, she would have spared herself (and us) a lot of agony.