Time-bending ‘Premonition’ flails

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March 25, 2007

6:36 PM

The premise of seeing into the future or having the ability to change the past is a recurring theme in cinema. When done right, it can produce gems like “The Butterfly Effect.” When done wrong, disasters such as the $80-million-flop “A Sound of Thunder” are the result. Sony Pictures takes a stab at this genre with “Premonition.”

p. Sandra Bullock (“Miss Congeniality”) stars as Linda Hanson, a housewife who wakes up one morning to hear that her husband, Jim, played by Julian McMahon (“Fantastic Four”), has died in a car accident. As if that were not a big enough shock, Linda wakes up the next morning to find him alive and well. The rest of the plot involves days in which he is alternately dead and alive. The filmmakers couldn’t confuse viewers more.

p. With an intriguing premise, an engaging trailer and a star in Bullock, “Premonition” seemed to have everything going for it at first glance. However, something just does not seem right about the film. After some research, the chinks in its armor start to show.

p. The director, Mennan Yapo, is a rookie whose only other credit includes the the obscure and little-viewed German thriller “Soundless.” Yapo merely does an adequate job. He manages just enough to get by. For a film with a striking concept, there is no unique stylistic approach taken, making the film rather disappointing.

p. The screenplay is written by Bill Kelly, whose only other Hollywood credit is the awful 1999 comedy “Blast from the Past” starring Brendan Fraser. In “Premonition,” what starts as a sci-fi thriller turns into a religious battle-turned-drama. Besides the genre-hopping, the numerous alternate realities that Linda goes through get frustrating and it seems that events are either thrown in for convenience or to take up celluloid. The climax of the film is rushed since so much time is spent on events that aren’t essential to the plot. A connection is never developed between the characters and the viewer. The film had a chance to end with a very big bang, but instead it can’t even go out with a whimper. The ending is by far one of the most frustrating since “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

p. Kelly’s screenplay also kills any chance the actors have of giving a good performance. The dialogue is shoddy and often laughable, Bullock being the main culprit. She recites her lines like a robot, which is disconcerting considering she is a fine actress. McMahon is no help ,either. He’s just as wooden as Bullock and, sad as it is, he should probably go back to being Victor Von Doom in the “Fantastic Four” movies — at least those are supposed to be cheesy.

p. The final of the film’s major flaws is that the twist is given away in the trailer. It’s not even hard to spot, which makes the ending even more frustrating. “Premonition” is a lot like last month’s “The Number 23” — a film that could have been a great thrill ride with some tweaking, but is instead boring and innocuous.

__Two Stars__

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