That would probably be the best way to describe M. Night Shyamalan's career right about now. You would have thought that wouldn't be the case from someone who created the classic in "The Sixth Sense". Therein lies the problem. He set the bar so high for even himself that it became a near impossible act to follow.
Before I even watched the movie, I figured that "Lady in the Water" would get unfairly criticized. We have all come to expect Shyamalan's movies to have some big twist at the end that no one saw coming. People became obsessed with it. So did he as he proved with the failed project "The Village". He finally realized that there didn't have to be surprise ending to make a film a hit. Unfortunately, he failed to grasp the fact that it also takes more than great acting to carry a film.
"Lady in the Water" is supposedly a bedtime story that Shyamalan claims he used to tell his children before they went to sleep. It's the story of apartment superintendent, Cleveland played by Paul Giamatti. He discovers a water nymph being stalked by a wolf/dog/grass hybrid (yes, you heard me right...grass). Nymph Story, played by Bryce Howard, resides in the apartment complex's pool and Cleveland must help her safely home. Personally, I can see how this may have been his children's bedtime story. They probably got bored trying to make sense of it and fell asleep.
What I couldn't understand is how an entire apartment complex of people so easily bought into this madness. Their superintendent tells them of some strange lady that he just found and this outlandish story of a monster after her and nobody questions it. Some are skeptical for a minute but the doubts disappear VERY quickly. Does this type of thing happen every day around there for them to buy it into so easily?
This flick had the problem that some of Shymmie's other works had. For some reason, he makes the creatures in his films look too laughable to be even a little credible. All the money he makes and he can't spend a little more of it on special effects? Then again, that's probably why he has so much loot because he skimps on that important facet of his productions.
"Lady in the Water" started off with some promise. Plus, it had one of my all-time favorites in Giamatti. It still couldn't overcome the fact that it had too many shortcomings. The entire movie seemed like Shymmie just threw a story together to prove that he could get any movie made. I don't know if he may still have another "Sixth Sense" type flick under his belt but hopefully he can do better than this one.
My rating: D+