THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Thursday, January 18, 1996 TAG: 9601180036 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E3 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: Medium: 57 lines
SANDRA BULLOCK'S charm and spontaneity is tested to the fullest in the ultra-lightweight ``Two if by Sea,'' a romantic comedy that depends almost entirely upon its two stars. She is such a likable, down-to-earth and original star that she almost single-handedly sells this pleasant, but inconsequential, little bit of fluff.
She is helped by the sexual presence of Denis Leary, who plays her lean but dumb boyfriend. Leary, as a comic, is known for more biting humor. Here, he seems intent, too, upon being likable. As an actor, he is OK but his failure, in this effort, is as a writer. The script gives the two characters little dimension.
Things start off promisingly. Frank and Roz, the two characters, have stolen a $4 million Matisse painting and are bickering as they casually evade a horde of police cars pursuing them. It is a scene of offbeat, wacky humor that, if sustained for the rest of the film, would have been diverting.
Soon, though, things settle down. The two take over a Rhode Island seaside mansion by passing themselves off as friends of the owners.
Meanwhile, the cops, led by Yaphet Kotto, are in pursuit, thinking the art theft is the work of a long-hunted crook who passed himself off as dead.
Bullock is irresistible even though this role is more aggressive than her usually vulnerable outings. Roz has dyed hair that sports several different shades. She pops gum and wears less-than-glamorous clothes. In other words, the ``Speed'' and ``Net'' girl is, again, doing what she does best - suggesting the girl-next-door.
Leary is a passable foil. They bicker a great deal. It's a refreshing respite from the sweet talk of most other screen lovers, but the banter could be wittier.
This film will do nothing to displease the ever-growing legion of Sandra Bullock fans. It will, at the same time, add to the public recognition of Leary.
It will, however, make no waves. It's merely a pleasant-enough time-waster. ILLUSTRATION: Graphic
``Two if by Sea''
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary, Yaphet Kotto, Wayne Robson,
Director: Bill Bennett
Screenplay: Denis Leary and Mike Armstrong
MPAA rating: R (language, mild sexual innuendoes)
Mal's rating: two and 1/2 stars
Locations: Cinemark, Greenbrier in Chesapeake; Janaf in Norfolk;
Kemps River, Lynnhaven 8, Pembroke, Surf-N-Sand in Virginia Beach