SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS
All right, let's get something out of the way here: Anne Heche is a
lesbian. Coverage of Six Days, Seven Nights has focused so
heavily on this point - and the corollary question of whether Heche
would be "credible" as a heterosexual romantic interest - that you
might suspect the title had been changed officially to Six Days,
Seven Nights with Lesbian Anne Heche Playing a Heterosexual.
Never mind that audiences didn't seem to have a problem finding
heterosexual actor Tom Hanks "credible" as a gay man in Philadelphia.
Never mind that presumably a different 29-year-old woman would be
considered more "credible" as a romantic interest for 55-year-old
Harrison Ford. And never mind that most Hollywood scripts consider
a "credible" romance any pairing of actors of the opposite sex, character
development be damned.
Six Days, Seven Nights is an unsatisfying Hollywood trifle, not
because Anne Heche doesn't date men, but because the script is a
disaster. Heche plays Robin Monroe, a New York magazine editor whisked
away to a week-long tropical vacation by her long-time boyfriend
Frank (David Schwimmer) so he can pop the question. Unfortunately,
work intrudes on paradise, forcing Robin to hop a cargo plane with
rough-around-the-edges pilot Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford) for a photo
shoot in Tahiti. En route the plane is caught in a violent storm, and
forced down on a deserted island.
Naturally, Quinn and Robin are polar opposites who share an almost
instant antagonism. Naturally, they grow closer as they struggle
together for their survival. There's just one thing missing from this
interaction: the faintest understanding of Robin's motivation for
getting involved with Quinn. Screenwriter Michael Browning presents
Robin and Frank's relationship as nearly ideal during their screen time
together, with Frank practically a fantasy figure out of the women's
magazine Robin works for - he's romantic, spontaneous and willing to
commit. That leaves Robin's reasons for leaping into Quinn's arms
fairly suspect; though Quinn assures her late in the film that their
connection isn't just "something that happens when two people are
alone on an island together," that's the only explanation which doesn't
make Robin's behavior rather sleazy. Even the attempt to make Frank
part of the problem is ill-conceived, tossing him into a drunken,
grief-stricken tryst with a voluptuous dancer (Jacqueline Obradors)
after he believed Robin to be dead. It's not chemistry that's missing
in the relationship between Robin and Quinn - it's sympathy.
In a valiant attempt to distract the audience from focusing on the
characters, Browning and director Ivan Reitman amp up the action
quotient by pitting our protagonists against pirates. Yes, that's
right, pirates. It's the kind of sub-plot which sends the mind reeling
into hypothetical suggestions offered by "helpful" studio executives:
"You know, it's great that they're stuck on this island together so
they can fall in love, but we're not sure about this whole lesbian
thing, so how about if pirates chased them, and shot at them, and then
at the end there was a big explosion?" For a film desperately in need
of more character development, Six Days, Seven Nights wastes
valuable minutes on a ridiculous forced conflict which contributes
nothing to the story but an amusing gag from Heche: "You mean 'arrrghh'
Six Days, Seven Nights actually contains a few amusing gags,
with both Heche and Ford - long under-appreciated for his comic timing -
scoring some comic hits. They just have almost nothing to work with,
squirming around with absurd situations and stick-figure characters.
The film's few simple pleasures, including the lovely scenery, are lost
in the search for some reason to root for these people ending up
together. There's nothing "credible" about the pairing of Robin and
Quinn, and that
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