Perhaps the nicest thing that can be said about Forces Of Nature is that it has only three real flaws. Unfortunately, those flaws—the lack of chemistry between stars Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck, Marc Lawrence's woefully uninspired script, and the maddeningly unconvincing lead performance by a miscast Bullock—are fairly fucking huge. The film's strengths, chief among them longtime Steven Soderbergh collaborator Elliot Davis' remarkable cinematography, are never strong enough to overcome Lawrence's script or Bullock's performance. She stars as a theoretically sexy, wild, adventurous free spirit who ends up the unlikely traveling companion of an uptight copywriter (Affleck) who's headed to Savannah to marry fiancée Maura Tierney. Along the way, the two undergo a predictable, painfully contrived series of mishaps that push them together and test the strengths of Affleck's devotion to Tierney. But while Bullock sports purple streaks in her hair, wears a stomach chain, and is introduced in a scene in which she's called upon to lick the mustache of X frontman John Doe, her character is never anywhere near as sexy, fun, unpredictable, or appealing as the film's script keeps insisting she is. Part of what makes Forces Of Nature at least watchable is that director Bronwen Hughes seems to recognize her film's biggest liabilities. She accordingly tries to undercut each, primarily by treating the script as something that needs to be worked around and by consciously or unconsciously working against Bullock by filming her in as unflattering a fashion as is humanly possible. But despite Hughes' best efforts and the work of a generally strong supporting cast, Forces Of Nature still only succeeds sporadically, even if it's never quite the unwatchable monstrosity it so clearly could have been.
More from The A.V. Club