Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Watery Eyes: "Angel Eyes" (2001)

This is the kind of film that is impossible to categorize, and by the time you do, you realize there has been a vast Hollywood conspiracy to fool you, the viewer.

Jennifer Lopez is a tough as Lee Press-On Nails cop named Sharon. She is the butt (tee-hee) of sexual harassment from all the chauvinist pigs (sorry) she works with. She is running down some stereotypical Chicago street scum when a mysterious man saves her life. His name is Catch (Jim Caviezel), and he wears a long coat and mopes around the streets mysteriously.

Sharon and Catch begin a tentative love affair, despite the fact that they refuse to let each other into their respective lives. Catch is the aforementioned mysterian without a past, and Sharon is dealing with her mom-beating dad and her wife-beating brother. The two have a lot of fights, and a lot of apology scenes. Most of the film has them treading on egg shells around each other, until the very good climax, when all the truth comes out, and the couple must decide if they can handle the emotional baggage.

With an awful title like "Angel Eyes," you might expect something supernatural along the lines of "City of Angels" or even "The Sixth Sense." Wrong. The video box would lead you back to the whole angel angle. Wrong. I found this video in the "ACTION" section of my video store. Wrong. Not knowing anything about the movie might explain its quick death at the box office, the studio just did not know how to market the thing.

Luis Mandoki's direction is very good, despite a couple of show off angles. The script moves at a leisurely pace, although you will probably figure out Chance's big problem with the opening scenes. The best scenes involve the climax, the worst involve Lopez trying to be street smart.

Jennifer Lopez, who I really do not mind except when she is on VH-1 twenty four hours a day, runs hot and cold here. Her scenes with her dysfunctional family are well done and believable. Whoever decided that timeless Sonia Braga should play her mother and the intense Jeremy Sisto should play her brother should get a bonus paycheck. Both look like Lopez, and I totally believed they could be in the same family. Lopez's scenes where she banters with her cop buddies are sad. She seems ill at ease, and so do these boorish characters who were old thirty years ago. Caviezel does not seem to wake up until the end of the picture, his "mysterious nature" could be mistaken for boredom.

Lopez and Caviezel have a nice chemistry, but by the time I realized this was a chick flick with profanity and gun play, it was too late. The main focus on Sharon, instead of Catch, is all wrong.

Despite a well acted finale and nice direction, "Angel Eyes" fails to deliver because it never could decide what it wants to be. (* * *) out of five stars.