Monday, September 29, 2008

Remind me to stay away from Lakeview Terrace

In Lakeview Terrace, a young couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbor, who disapproves of their interracial relationship. A stern, single father, this tightly wound LAPD officer (Samuel L. Jackson) has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighborhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly harassing to the newlyweds. These persistent intrusions into their lives ultimately turn tragic when the couple decides to fight back.

Imagine you’ve finally moved into your dream home. Quiet street, beautiful yards, everyone minds their own business. And, to sweeten the pot, you learn that your next door neighbor is a cop. Great news, right?

Chris (Wilson) and Lisa (Washington) Mattson have just bought their first home. Chris works for a large supermarket chain while Lisa designs fashions. Together they make a great couple. To everyone it seems but their new neighbor, Abel Turner, a 20 year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Turner lost his wife three years ago and is now doing his best to raise his young son and daughter. He makes sure the pray, make their beds, use good grammar and won’t allow his boy to wear a Kobe Bryant jersey (he’s more partial to Shaq). He also takes pristine care of his garden when he’s not fixing his classic cars. A busy man indeed. Abel doesn’t like the new neighbors. Whether it’s because they’re young and happy or the fact Chris is white and Lisa is black, Abel isn’t keen on becoming the Welcome Wagon.

There are some actors that are a pleasure to watch work and Jackson is certainly one of them. Even when he’s chasing snakes on a plane he has an intensity that jumps off the screen. That intensity is on display here by the barrel full. In fact, Jackson’s performance is really the only reason to see “Lakeview Terrace.” The plot, what little there is, is spelled out in the first 20 minutes of the film…SAM DOESN’T LIKE YOU! Chris and Lisa suffer through all of Abel’s games because they’re afraid of some kind of “cop retribution.” While Wilson and Washington are talented performers, they’re really not given anything to do to stand out. And I don’t know how much the LAPD pays it’s officers, but I don’t think it’s enough to by a beautiful house in the hills (located on Lakeview CIRCLE – guess no one told the producers) , complete with several classic autos. Maybe he’s got a good investment adviser. A predictable film in MANY ways I'm giving this one a 3 on my "Go See" scale.

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