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Forces of Nature

Forced comedy is more like it. Mild-mannered New Yorker Ben (Ben Affleck) is traveling to Georgia to marry fianceé Bridget (Maura Tierney), but when his flight fails to leave the runway, he takes to the road with irresponsible, free-spirited Sarah (Sandra Bullock), who is also traveling south to resolve issues from her past. Much of Forces of Nature is made palpable by attractive performances by Affleck and Bullock, who are hard not to like in just about every film they appear, but scenarist Marc Lawrence fails to grasp the fundamental nature of opposites-attract screwball comedies — the two leads invariably must start out despising each other, which doesn't happen here. Instead of the scathing acrimony and mutual distrust found in such classic road movies as It Happened One Night and The Sure Thing — which Forces of Nature undoubtedly takes as inspiration — Affleck and Bullock are initially curious about each other's diametrically opposed personalities, and when the shouting finally happens towards the end of the film, enough of a friendship has already been established to diminish the overall effect. Beyond that, most of "jokes" fall with a thud (although choice supporting actor Steve Zahn gets in a few of his trademark loopy bits) and the conclusion is bound to leave many genre-fans scratching their heads. Spin it if you have nothing better to do, but be forewarned: the transfer on this disc is unusually dark, which may be a mastering fault or simply due to cinematographer Elliot Davis's color-desaturated print. In either case, it's annoying and may cause you to think that your television is on the fritz. Also starring Blythe Danner and Ronny Cox. Directed by Bronwen Hughes. Dolby Digital 5.1, deleted scenes, featurette, trailer, textual supplements.

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