Six Days, Seven Nights
1998, PG-13, 106 min. Directed by Ivan Reitman. Starring Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer, Jacqueline Obradors, Te Muera Morrison, Allison Janney.
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., June 19, 1998
The premise of a girl, a guy, and a desert island is hardly high-concept, but Six Days, Seven Nights treats it as if it were. A barely passable romantic comedy with flimsy action-adventure thrown in for good measure, this entry in the summer sweepstakes is as Hollywood-manufactured as movies about giant lizards traipsing through Gotham or loud sequels starring Mel Gibson. In short, there's nothing remotely real or appealing about it. Rather than focus on the intimacy that develops between the film's oil-and-water protagonists -- a high-strung career girl (read: contemporary woman) and the grizzled airplane pilot (read: traditional male) -- who are stranded on a South Seas paradise together, director Ivan Reitman and screenwriter Michael Browning include murderous pirates, big explosions, and a mammary fixation in Six Days, Seven Nights for fear that a simple love story wouldn't keep anyone's attention for very long. (Imagine if director John Huston and screenwriter James Agee had felt the same about The African Queen, a movie to which Six Days, Seven Nights bears a somewhat passing resemblance. Then again, don't.) As a result, the lurching relationship between the film's mismatched couple doesn't lend credence to the observation that opposites attract, but rather is a testament to some pitchman's ability to encapsulate the plotline of this movie in 25 words or less. It's a cynical view, but one that Six Days, Seven Nights doesn't do much to refute. What's more, the gender politics inherent in the movie's setup are only touched upon briefly, as if to explore them more fully might transmogrify the film into something unthinkable. With the loopy exceptions of his early Eighties outings with Bill Murray, Reitman has proven to be the quintessential director of lumbering, big-budget comedy bores -- remember Legal Eagles or Kindergarten Cop? Like those movies, no one will remember Six Days, Seven Nights in a couple or so years because there's nothing worth recalling. As someone once said, mediocrity makes for a very short memory.