I watched “The Lake House” again last night. A shameful thing to admit, I know…but the idea of two people separated by time, desperately trying to find a way to be together, appeals to me.
I’m also a sucker for Keanu Reeves films…and not because he’s a great actor.
Because he isn’t.
Watching Keanu’s awkward attempts at acting are often the highlight of the film for me. In “The Lake House,” for example, Keanu breaks down in tears as he reads his father’s autobiography following his death. You can actually see Keanu working to generate the necessary emotion and tears; it’s hilarious. And that’s unfortunate, since it really should be a touching moment.
Another one of my favorite ‘awful acting’ moments is Keanu’s entire time onscreen as Don John in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing.” His delivery of Shakespeare is so stilted and — sorry, it really is the best word — awkward that I laughed after every line. Dark and brooding? Dense and bumbling is closer.
That’s not to say that he hasn’t had some good performances. His turn as a young doctor in love with older playwright Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” is quiet and sincere. And his stoners in the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” movies and “Parenthood” are spot on.
Perhaps simplicity is the key — whether in his character’s singular desire or low apparent IQ. But…let’s not tell Keanu.
It would ruin his films for me.