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Lake Placid
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Steve Miner

Written By:
David E. Kelley

Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Mariska Hargitay, Meredith Salenger, Betty White, David Lewis

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Lake Placid (1999)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
April 14th, 2010

'Lake Placid' fails as a horror film, but succeeds as a comedy, with hysterical turns from Betty White and Oliver Platt.

The plot centers on a 30-foot crocodile that has apparently migrated from Asia, to the waters of Maine. New York paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is sent to investigate a tooth that was found on the body of a scuba diver who was bitten in half. Upon arrival, she meets county sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), game warden Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), and eccentric mythology professor and croc enthusiast Hector Cyr (Platt), who devises a bizarre theory that the monstrous reptile swam in from the ocean. Cyr reveres crocodiles as sacred, mystical beasts and has traveled the world to study and observe them.

White shows up as Mrs. Bickerman, an elderly local who has been feeding her cows to the croc on a regular basis, and does not wish for the creature to be harmed, even when she acknowledges that it (accidentally) killed her husband. White is a scene-stealer, spewing obscenities that would make the Golden Girls blush. Hearing her say "c*cksuckers" is certainly shocking for anyone who knows her almost exclusively from her role as the lovably na´ve Rose Nylund.

Fonda is adequate as the strong-willed heroine, who may whine a bit too much, but proves resourceful when the situation calls for it. Pullman is the likable guy who serves as the token potential love interest, slowing falling for Kelly, after some occasional bickering. Gleeson is terrific as the bumbling sheriff, and plays well off of Platt, who tends to overact and become slightly annoying as the exuberantly kooky and self-absorbed Cyr.

The dialogue is surprisingly snappy and witty, a pleasure to listen to, and it elevates the otherwise mediocre material. As a creature feature, the film elicits the kind of campy, shlock value prevalent in cheesy 50s or 60s cinema, or even more recent stuff like Alligator or Anaconda. The movie is neither scary nor suspenseful, but it does have a few gory moments, enough to justify the R rating, I suppose, and borrowing from Jaws, it chooses not to reveal the croc until about halfway through, when it suddenly pops out and eats a grizzly bear.

This establishes its size and sheer ferocity, and surely, while paddling around in canoes, the characters were thinking they did need bigger boats, and even bigger helicopters. Characters behave stupidly and implausibly, as is customary for the genre, diving and even using themselves as bait to draw out the croc, who seems rather docile until depserately hungry or agitated by repeated invasions of its habitat.

Special effects are not even impressive, despite the $30 million budget. While the croc looks real enough from a distance, up close, its movements appear robotic . A fun time, however, because it never takes itself that seriously.

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Apr 15, 2010 5:56 PM
2 and a half stars is the perfect rating for this movie. I remember it being very funny, but totally failing where it was meant to be good. As a monster movie! The giant croc seemed to take a back seat to the gags :D

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