The Simian Line (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Simian Line is an old-fashioned feel-good romantic comedy involving three couples, a psychic, and two ghosts who can only be seen by the psychic.

The three couples live in two neighboring houses in New Jersey, just across the river from The City. Anchoring the cast is Lynn Redgrave, whose family has owned one of the houses for generations. She lives with a much younger man, and rents out additional rooms to a second couple, who look barely old enough to have reached puberty. The third couple consists of a pair of yuppies who have moved in next door. The two established couples throw a housewarming party for the newcomers, and they also invite a psychic to liven up the proceedings. They expect this to provide some harmless fun, and it does for a while, but the vibes turn bad when the psychic, who has some real gifts, sees the ghosts who haunt the house. This immediately prompts all six inebriated party-goers to declare her as buggy as Quebec in summertime. Offended by their rudeness, the psychic makes the cruel prediction that one of the couples in the room will break up before the end of the year.

The three couples assume that the prediction is just the rambling of a loony, but the very next day they are struck by the fact that another of the psychic's predictions has come true - and it was something very specific which nobody could possibly have guessed. Lynn Redgrave becomes even more convinced of supernatural influences when the psychic comes back to the house and makes some astoundingly accurate statements about Redgrave's family. None of this seems surprising to the psychic, since she got the info directly from one of the ghosts, who is Redgraves's great-grandfather. Now you can see the predicament Redgraves is in. She knows that one of the couples will break up. She can see that the other couples are matched well, and seem happy. She, meanwhile, is a 60ish woman trying to hang on to hunky Harry Connick Jr. It's obvious to her that the handwriting is on her wall. Of course, she then starts to misinterpret every word and every action of Connick as a sign of infidelity or boredom, and this makes him understandably upset, since he's genuinely in love with her, and is as happy as an English lord with a new derby. The resulting tension causes her to make the prophecy self-fulfilling. Similar things happen to the other two couples as well.

Now I can't really tell you much more except that the prediction was 100% accurate and, despite that, the film has a sweet (well, bittersweet) ending.

The Simian Line was shot in twelve days with very little money by an inexperienced director, so it is somewhat marred by technical glitches which were the result of that writer/director lacking experience, time and money. The worst of these amateur mistakes involves pointless narration which not only seems unnecessary, but co-exists with dialogue. It seems to have been added in post-production to an already completed film, with the dialogue track simply reduced in volume as the narrator recites. The worst script problem resides in the fact that I was only interested in the film in three situations: (1) when the Connick and Redgrave story was developed (2) when the ghosts were around (3) when Cindy Crawford was naked. The stories behind the other two couples were ... well, tedious, frankly.

So, in spite of that, is it worth a look? Surprisingly, yes. Oh, the DVD is absolutely bare-bones, and you have to like this kind of syrupy story with a syrupy score, but it's OK. It's a chick-flick or a date movie, and appeals most strongly to the pre-teens and young teens, but the people who love such movies should know that this will probably fill the bill. It is a sweet and gentle movie with a big heart and some brains as well.


Group IMDb score /10
Males 5.7
Females 7.6
Females 29 or under: 9.3

The few critics who saw it generally disliked it (12% positive reviews), but I can understand that. It's not the kind of cynical, deep, and/or hip movie that critics like. Variety gave it a fairly positive review with which I generally agree. It's scored a respectable 6.0 at IMDb, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. I felt that the elements I liked made it a satisfactory watch, even though it is not my kind of movie.

Just as surprising as the watchability of the film is the fact that Harry Connick (as the toy boy) and Cindy Crawford (as one of the yuppies) manage to hold their own among such distinguished actors as Lynn Redgrave and William Hurt (as a genteel Southern ghost). It's a shame for Cindy that nobody has seen this film, because it would have given her a chance to cleanse the palettes of a lot of people whose taste for her was soured by Fair Game. I, for one, will stop using her as a punch line for bad acting jokes.

At least for today.



  • no features
  • no widescreen



Cindy Crawford takes two baths on camera. She is wearing something over her breasts in the second one, but she manages to expose them the first time.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • As far as I know, it was never given a general theatrical release. It must have made it to the big two because it was reviewed by some N.Y. and L.A. papers.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our 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. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.
  • 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. Hey, it ain't When Harry Met Sally, but if you have a taste for sentimental romantic comedies, you could do far worse.

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