In retrospect, it’s actually kind of funny how much I disliked M. Night Shyamalan without having seen Lady in the Water. Let’s just say that the way that I hated him before was like a racist who’d never heard of BET, and the way I hate him now is like a racist just watched BET on Friday. A whole world of hatred has opened itself up to me. I’m pretty sure if I had the time to write everything there is to be written about this, it would fill up the internet and there would be no more room for your ivillage blog.
The story behind
Splash 2 Lady in the Water is that it started as a fairy tale Shyamalan was telling to his daughters about what happened in their pool at night while the family was asleep, which is really relatable. When I was little, my mom told me made up stories all the time about who flew our solid gold helicopter when we were busy on our private island, and who was responsible for leaving the thousand dollar bills under my pillow every night. So I understand the desire of a parent to entertain his children. And in doing so it’s easy to make up stupid little names and mysteries for the story, because they’re children, and you just want them to pass out so you can go to bed and not have sex with your wife. But when you decide to translate that magic to the big screen, PUNCH IT THE FUCK UP. There is no rougher draft then the one you write off the top of your head in your children’s bedroom, but M. Night Shyamalan was like “Perfect. There’s no improving upon this. Even Will Smith couldn’t write a movie this good.” Which is a fair point, insofar as it’s so bad that the only revisions he could have made to improve it would have been the revisions of setting it on fire and walking away.
The plot is that Paul Giammati plays a custodian at an apartment complex full of wacky characters, and then there is a girl living underneath the pool who will be a queen if she can just see her human soulmate in person and then an eagle will pick her up and take her to the ocean but first dogs made of grass will try and hurt her unless the evil monkeys made of grass can protect her and if she doesn’t get back to the ocean to become a queen in time she will die and then the humans won’t get the magic wisdom of the ocean people, which they lost when they moved to a rundown apartment building in Philadelphia. You know, simple kids’ stuff.
The movie deals with themes like destiny and faith and the interconnectedness of the world. It also deals with themes like shittiness, racist caricatures of Asians, and navel gazing. As if the whole movie couldn’t possibly be bad enough based on shitty plot, shitty red herrings, and the shittiest waste of Paul Giamatti doing a shitty stutter, M. Night Shyamalan himself has A MAJOR ROLE? Supposedly he tried casting the part, but it was impossible because all the other actors in the world ever were busy so he decided to play it himself. To make matters worse, his character is a revolutionary author whose recently finished book is going to change the world. The only thing believable about this storyline is that someone might want to assassinate him.
This movie famously destroyed Shyamalan’s relationship with Disney, who funded his previous movies. The reason it destroyed the relationship is because someone at Disney READ THE SCRIPT. I mean, look, I’m no uncritical fan of the studio system or Hollywood executives, but I’m pretty sure a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years would, in their infinite monkey wisdom, not be bothered randomly generating this masterpiece and move on to accidentally typing Baseketball. Shyamalan’s head is so far up his own ass (sexually) that I’m pretty sure his next movie (which after The Happening will probably be filmed on a Flip) is going to just be a spooky panning shot of his choker collection.
Admittedly, it did have one of my favorite moments from all of the M. Night Shyamalan movies, which I refer to as “Spooky Pool Filter”:
Something’s making this pool dirty (SPOILER ALERT: it’s stupidity.) Lady in the Water is definitely making it into the finals for Worst Movie of All Time, but regardless of if it wins or not, M. Night Shyamalan has earned himself the league championship title Best Masturbator.
Next time: The Fountain.