“Nights in Rodanthe”
Quality 16/Showcase
Village Roadshow
1 out 5 Stars

There’s a right way and a wrong way to make a chick flick enjoyable for both men and women. The right way is to craft a believable love story between two likeable people, with realistic complications to keep them apart and the requisite gazing out at the stars/beach/moon/landscape in order to ponder it all.

“Nights in Rodanthe” illustrates the wrong way. The characters spend ridiculous amounts of time simply gazing out at the beach, the stars and space in general. Hopefully, they’re seeing something better than this piece of dreck we’re forced to watch.

Adrienne (Diane Lane, “Unfaithful”) and Paul (Richard Gere, “Chicago”) are two middle-aged divorcees who have lost their way. Luckily, they both find themselves spending time together (she as the inn-keeper, he as her only guest) for a weekend at a dilapidated inn by the sea.

The two naturally fall in love, but only because the plot requires it. Realistically, these two know nothing about each other and only begin to bond over whiskey and throwing canned foods into a garbage can — how romantic.

The film wants to abandon realism in favor of preposterous soul-searching, but it’s difficult to take it seriously. It doesn’t help that the climax of their “romance” comes in the middle of a massive tropical storm, a contrived metaphor for the stormy passion brewing between the two — inadvertently illustrating how much of a disaster this film actually is.

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