Angel Eyes (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

I guess the primary focus of this web site is to make fun of celebrities. 

We may disguise it in the form of movie analysis; we may temper our condescension with the occasional dollop of praise; we may be fans of some celebrities and lust for others. Ultimately, however, we mostly love them because they are so great to ridicule. We love the stars without luster and the egos without justification. We live for the day when Hugh Grant says:

(in Hollywood) they don't understand my self-effacing ways. I say "Oh, please it's a terrible film and I'm awful in it", and they take me at my word.

Gosh, how could that be, Hugh? People believed that you were sincere rather than accusing you of false modesty. People actually believed that you were modest, and painfully accurate in your self-appraisal. What fools they are! Why anybody can see that you're completely insincere. You're the poster boy for insincere people everywhere, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure that nobody ever takes you at your word again. 

Unfortunately, in this case it just so happened that your insincerity was cancelled out by your unrealistic self-assessment and, purely by accident mind you, you spoke the truth, even though you intended false modesty. Hey, it happens to the best of us. I think even the Taliban spokesman tells the truth once in a while, albeit not intentionally.

Could there be any other celebrity who is actually proud of false modesty? Hugh has to take the cake.

Given that celebrity bashing is our greatest joy, you'd think we we really get off on bashing Jennifer Lopez. I mean, c'mon, There's the whole ego thing: the desire to demonstrate every aspect of human talent. The singing career, the acting, comedy, big-butt swimsuit modeling, dancing, packin' heat in the company of gangstas, maintaining an entourage. The whole diva above-the-herd thing.


none. Lopez appears in fairly skimpy black underwear, and there are two minor possible sightings of aureole.
Tell you the truth, though, J-Lo is for real as an actress. Her last two movies have been lame, but that had absolutely nothing to do with her. She delivered well-rounded and real characters. In the case of Angel Eyes, she managed to turn a grade-g script into a three dimensional portrayal. She was tough and tender and charming and beautiful and charismatic. If in real life she is a difficult and egocentric person, as the entertainment writers intimate, none of that comes through in her screen characters. 

The woman has real presence when she's up on the that screen. 

I'll reserve judgment on the rest of her Renaissance Woman endeavors, except for one thing. She is missing at least one critical skill - the ability to determine a worthwhile script. This one was a big, big mistake. Lopez is OK. Film stinks.

It has a fairly promising start. Lopez is a cop who pulls a victim through an accident, like an angel of mercy. We don't see who the guy is.  Flash forward. Lopez is chasing a perp who turns the tables on her and is about to shoot her in the face, when she is saved by a mysterious man in a a long overcoat. I'll bet you'll never guess who he is. Amazingly, it took Lopez about 90% of the running time to put the two incidents together. I think there was supposed to be some mystery for us as well, but it was completely evident. Incidentally, if I understood the script, he doesn't know that Lopez is the one who saved him. He may remember it somewhere in his subconscious, but his conscious mind doesn't seem to know about the incident. He just knows he is drawn to her. He saved her because of his mystical connection to her, not because of a conscious urge to pay her back.

Then she starts to date her rescuer, sort of. She's a tough cop with an emotional wall around her. She doesn't say much, but she's chattier than Kathie Lee compared to this guy. He has no first or last name, no past, no job, nothing in his apartment but a futon. He's apparently some kind of street character. Frankly, he's creepy, and gives off "stalker" vibes, but Lopez can see that he has a gentle spirit, so she is attracted to him despite his creepiness. They have an odd relationship. She moves forward, he pulls back. He comes back, she pretends not to care. And so forth.

At this point, I don't think we're supposed to know that he's the victim from Scene 1, but even if we have deduced that much, we don't know where he came from, or why he acts so spacy. That's what the rest of the movie is about. Frankly, the film never really convincingly explains this. I still don't know if he had amnesia, or if he consciously rejected his former life, or what. He almost beat up a jazz club owner who recognized him from the past, and I didn't quite "get it". Frankly, I never did lose the sense that he was kinda creepy.

Unlike Tuna, I was hooked at the beginning. I certainly could see that he must be the guy from Scene 1, but I was curious about who the guy really was. After that fairly promising start, however, the rest of the film is a great disappointment, and I lost interest early. It is blatantly sentimental, and completely obvious. Worst of all, when they finally revealed it, there was nothing remotely interesting in his back story. In fact, there is really nothing to anchor this film except Lopez' solid presence. She gives it the ol' college try, but ultimately the film falls under the weight of mawkish, poorly written speeches and maudlin situations. 

In fairness, I need to point out that Ebert and his new colleague gave it two thumbs up, so the film is not without appeal, but I think you need to be able to appreciate a really sentimental movie to enjoy it. It was too sappy for my taste. 

Women rate it far higher than men at IMDb, for whatever that might be worth to you as a guideline.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary

Tuna's comments: 

Angel Eyes (2001) stars Jennifer Lopez as a two digit IQ Chicago cop with a chip on her shoulder, mostly over the fact that her family has never forgiven her for having her father arrested for beating her mother. She saves an accident victim at the beginning of the film, who turns out to be the same odd person she has a relationship with later. It was at the very start that this film lost me. Lopez was supposed to be a seasoned cop, and a hard case, yet she arrives on the scene of a traffic accident and becomes nearly hysterical (or was it just overacting?). 

It is supposed to be a surprise to us that the guy who she starts seeing in the same guy she  saved, but who has blocked the entire incident from his mind, but they telegraph every plot twist long before it happens, thus building 0 dramatic tension. (Scoop notes: yes, that's what I thought. I thought I wasn't supposed to know it was the same guy, but it obviously had to be. Too silly.)

The photography is good, but my favorite review of the film is the short version of Berardinelli, "Sloppy and Sappy." Someone needs to tell whoever  is in charge of make-up to go easy on eyes and lips for close-ups, but do cover the acne scars. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: between two and two and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 2/4, Apollo 64/100, BBC 2/5.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 29% positive reviews, 43% from the top group.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.5, Apollo users 64/100. 
  • IMDb males: 5.3
  • IMDb females: 6.8
  • With their dollars ... it took in $24 million at the box, compared to a $38M budget
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C- (both reviewers). Good production values, and Jennifer Lopez. Those are really the only major plusses. After a promising first ten minutes, the script is poor. (Tuna hated it right from the get-go.

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