Harrison Ford and Anne Heche try to get a Tracy-Hepburn thing going in Ivan Reitman's Six Days, Seven Nights--or is it a Bogart-Hepburn thing, à la African Queen? Ford plays a cargo pilot who puddle-jumps from one South Pacific island to another, Heche a New York magazine editor who's vacationing at a tropical resort with her soon-to-be husband (David Schwimmer) when she gets called to Tahiti to oversee a photo shoot. The only flight out, it so happens, is on Ford's leaky rustbucket (shades of the Millennium Falcon); and, sure enough, the thing winds up doing a belly-flop on what might as well be Gilligan's Island. Luckily, Heche has a trunk full of Mrs. Howell's clothes (via Banana Republic), and Ford approaches the Professor's ability to fashion an atomic bomb out of coconut shells. But can they, you know, keep their hands off each other? Not for long. My favorite moment in the movie is when Ford reaches down into Heche's shorts and pulls out a snake--a Freudian symbol crash that can be heard from here to Vienna. The comedian in me couldn't help but wonder whether the scene would have played better if Heche had pulled the snake out of Ford's shorts. As it is, the movie seems to be going out of its way to establish that Heche is a damsel in distress and Ford her knight in shining sunscreen. Otherwise, Heche would eat Ford for breakfast, I suspect. With her Audrey Hepburn body and that Sandy Duncan look on her face, you expect Heche to chirp like a bird, and yet she exudes power--a throwback to the fast-talking broads of screwball comedy. The opposite of a Peanut M&M, Heche is nutty on the outside, with a shell on the inside that would be mighty hard to crack. Ford doesn't quite crack it, nor does Heche crack his. That has nothing to do with the fact that Heche (a.k.a. Ellen DeGeneres' significant other) is now what Time magazine calls "Hollywood's first avowedly lesbian leading lady." Furrowing its collective brow, the mainstream press has been asking itself over and over whether a lesbian can play a straight woman. Only a straight person would ask such a question, for most gays and lesbians have been playing straight people, off and on, their whole lives. No, the reason Ford and Heche don't generate much chemistry is...Ford. He still has that stick stuck up his ass, even though he's desperately trying to recapture the daredevil-may-care charm of Indiana Jones. "You look good," Heche tells him when he whispers his age in her ear. "I am good," he says, as if saying it makes it so. The movie itself looks good--the lush splendor of Kauai given a sprinkling of papaya juice by cinematographer Michael Chapman. But I'm not sure you'd say it is good. Everything's a little too familiar, for one thing; watching the movie is like staying at Disney World's Polynesian Village for the umpteenth time. And the parts that aren't familiar are almost embarrassingly lame. Scriptwriter Michael Browning has come up with a subplot involving Schwimmer and a woman whose breasts enter a room five minutes before the rest of her--ugh. And when Ford and Heche run out of ways to avoid being rescued, they run into...pirates! Argh. Reitman directs with his usual no-style style. But, for all that, the movie is likable enough. And, as I always like to point out when Hollywood drops a summer bomb, the theaters are air-conditioned.
At my high school graduation I had to give a speech--worst experience of my life, 'nuff said. Later that night, at a party that lasted until dawn, I gave a second speech. Fortified with enough Mogen David to fill a small swimming pool, I did an extended compare-and-contrast of cunnilingus and fellatio. This time, I received the standing ovation that had eluded me earlier in the evening. Or so I'm told. I remember nothing, of course. And, 25 years later, if I tilt my head in the direction of my hometown, I can still feel the hangover.