WICKER PARK (Paul McGuigan, 2004)
The love of Josh Hartnett’s life disappears without a trace in WICKER PARK. A couple years later Matthew thinks he catches a glimpse of her, which sets off an obsessive search for Diane Kruger as Lisa. Matthew has been thinking of marrying his current girlfriend, but he still wonders what became of the woman he wanted to marry and why she vanished.
WICKER PARK is a remake of the excellent French film L’APPARTEMENT. I saw Gilles Mimouni’s Hitchcockian film about a year ago, and as far as I recall, this Hollywood version hews reasonably close to the original. Sets, color schemes, and some shots duplicate their forebears so much that they could have been cribbed from L’APPARTEMENT. The twisty storyline and plot structure are followed too, yet this remake pales compared to the source material. The obsession is present, but the passion is lacking. A tone deaf Matthew Lillard supporting performance, tuned more toward comedy, doesn’t help. A problem I don’t remember the original having is the belief-stretching coincidences and easily resolved misunderstandings needed to keep Matthew and Lisa apart. WICKER PARK frustrates to no end when a smidgen of common sense on anyone’s behalf would clear up everything. Although I knew the outcome, WICKER PARK kept me interested as a puzzle movie. It’s a case of the right ingredients being combined incorrectly.
(Review first aired on the September 14, 2004 NOW PLAYING)