'Premonition' won't toy with your imagination

By , Film critic of The Christian Science Monitor

Sandra Bullock stars in "Premonition" as a housewife whose husband may – or may not – be dead.

The reason for the confusion: One sunny afternoon, a policeman arrives to inform Linda that Jim (Julian McMahon) was killed in a car accident. After a day of mourning, she wakes up the next morning to discover Jim sipping coffee in the kitchen. What gives?

Billed as a supernatural thriller, "Premonition" is thematically closer to movies such as "Memento" or "Déjà Vu" or "The Lake House," Bullock's previous foray into the realm of now-you-see-him-now-you-don't.

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In "The Lake House," she was romanced by a suitor, played by Keanu Reeves, who existed a few years in the future. In "Premonition," it quickly becomes apparent that she's living the days of her life out of order. The week of Jim's accident has been fractured into days that either precede or follow his death. Once she figures this out, Linda tries to prevent the accident from happening.

Since she has two young daughters and the marriage is chilly – Jim has been contemplating an affair with a co-worker (Amber Valletta) – I was hoping Linda would stay the course and hold out for Keanu Reeves. Obviously we're supposed to want her to save the day, despite a love that is less than undying.

"Premonition" would have been much more interesting if, instead of dabbling in shuffled days, the filmmakers had left Linda's predicament more open-ended. Is she imagining her husband's death as a kind of wish fulfillment? Or is she in fantasy denial over her loss? Is she crazy? A psychological dimension would have leavened a lot of the mumbo jumbo.

And the absence of nuance is all the more disappointing in light of Bullock's transformation into a fully adept actress. In "Crash," and even in the portentously silly "Lake House," she showed a range and a depth of feeling that made me almost forgive and forget her previous girl-next-door blandness.

But the way "Premonition" is set up, there's not much she can do with the role except look increasingly haggard and flummoxed. At times, Bullock seems as confused by the plot as we are. Even if you cut the writer Bill Kelly and the director Mennan Yapo a lot of slack, there are plot holes galore.

May I suggest that it's time to declare a moratorium on movies about time? Grade: C

Rated PG-13 for violent content, disturbing images, thematic material, and brief language.

Sex Nudity: 4 cases of innuendo. Violence: 8. Language: 4 strong uses and 6 milder ones. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 6.

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