There is no way to describe the complete awfulness of this movie with words. An action could, perhaps. If you took a copy of Deep End of the Ocean on DVD, sharpened it, then used it to decapitate the director (Ulu Grosbard) that just might do it. This has to be one of the most amazing films of in recent history because it managed to tell a story in a way that makes Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders look like Spartacus.
I hope most women are offended by this film because Michelle Pfeiffer did for women in this film what Dwight Yoakam did for men in Sling Blade. Almost every woman in the movie followed the Melvin Udall formula from As Good As It Gets. They were all over-emotional, irrational, backbiting wretches that never stopped complaining. (Insert wry remark here).
There were so many things really wrong with this film it’s hard to know where to begin. How about the title? There is no mention of an ocean. They don’t live near an ocean. If they are referring to off the deep end, no one goes crazy in the movie (although the filmmakers obviously were). It’s a story about a family losing a kid, then getting him back, then wondering how to relate to him. What does that have to do with the “deep end of the ocean”? They could have called it “Home is Where the Heart is”. That would suck, but it would make more sense.
One disturbing thing in this picture was Pfeiffer. It’s bad enough that she is a horrible actress and about as attractive as Billy Bob Thorton, but she also has this remarkable vein over her left temple that any evil overlord would be jealous of. As the movie progressed, I watched in horror wondering if that thing was going to pop. They should have used some kind of spackle on it. This was supposed to be a heart-felt story of a family torn apart (note the supposed), but at certain points in the film all I could think about was the disturbing vision of her pulsating demon-vein. Another problem is her character Beth. Rain Man would have more common sense that Beth. She looses one kid in a hotel lobby by leaving her two sons alone for awhile. Oops. Then she leaves the last son to guard the luggage while she looks for the first one. Brilliant. Then she never bothers to call her husband to tell him the kid is missing until four hours later.
This movie also makes you ask a lot of questions like why is Treat Williams called Patty? Or what is the point in bothering to name a police detective Candy Bliss, when you then have to write her explaining her name every time she meets someone? What is the point of their pathetic discussion about sex? Would you want to listen to your parents talking about sex? I’m sure that’s where this dialogue came from. The only fun thing to watch in this movie was, I am absolutely serious, the most melodramatic Christmas present exchange in cinematic history.
The biggest problem with this movie, though, is that it’s over in one hour, but the film keeps running for another 45 minutes. A heated discussion about where to eat Thanksgiving dinner is not a plot line, but try telling that to the writers. There is no reason the last half of the movie could not have been cut to ten minutes, but we are not that lucky.
The funniest blatant oversight in this movie deserves special mention. The family that has had their son missing for nine years also has a ten year old daughter. When the family is reunited with the lost son halfway through the movie, the daughter is not only not seen, she is not even mentioned once in the last half of the movie. Not once! Maybe Beth lost her too.
All in all, Deep End of the Ocean is a steaming mound of melodramatic horse nuggets, and I think you would have more fun whittling a skewer out of your finger and using it to poke out your eyes than you would watching this movie.
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