Diehard romantics love Nicholas Sparks' books and the movies based on them.
Like Sparks’ very popular The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe has tragedy buried in a love story.
It probably should have been buried elsewhere.
Richard Gere and Diane Lane (Under the Tuscan Sun) play lonely people that meet at a bed and breakfast on an island off the coast of North Carolina. She’s watching the property for a friend. He’s a doctor struggling with the death of a patient and a lost relationship with a son. She has split from a cheating husband and has a personality clash going with a teenage daughter.
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Her nearly ex-husband has decided he has totally blown things and wants to move back. But she’s moved on.
All the usuals happen. First, Gere and Lane like each other. Then, they fall in love. Then, they fall into bed during a hurricane that comes ashore during his visit. And then, love hits that predictable snag.
And then they make up -- yada, yada, yada.
Until the awkward love story materializes, Nights in Rodanthe isn’t too bad. Once love blossoms, the sizzle quickly turns to fizzle. Considering neither of them has much to do, and they have to wade through a lot of schmaltz, the performances aren’t bad. As always, Gere is steady. He doesn’t under or overwhelm. Neither does Lane.
They’re victims of director George C. Wolfe, whose experience is limited to TV. He seems to think movies need to be chopped up into bite-sized bits to fit between commercials. So Nights in Rodanthe starts slow, stalls in the middle, and by the time the tragedy hits, a slideshow with still photographs set to music would seem faster.
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens today at the Carmike 12 and at Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself