Six Days, Seven Nights hopes to be like the '50s rom-coms that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn did so well. You know the drill: the classy, but stubborn, society girl is forced to co-operate with the uncouth, but sensitive, down-at-heel reporter. They can't stand each other and bicker; but hey, whaddya know, they fall into each other's arms during the final reel. Likewise, in this '90s update, acid-tongued mag editor Anne Heche finds herself stranded on a deserted island with Harrison Ford's surly, roguish pilot, and they are forced to co-operate. They can't stand each other and bicker; but hey, whaddya know... etc.
Unfortunately that's where the comparisons end. Six Days, Seven Nights fails to match the witty and perceptive writing of the studio era, and is woefully let down by a yawn-inducing, virtually laugh-free script. Director Ivan Reitman (responsible for last summer's deeply disappointing Father's Day) is also unable to deliver in the romance and adventure departments, totally wasting his two high-profile leads and crushing whatever potential the film had with uncharacter-istically lacklustre direction.
Admittedly the first 40 minutes is pacy and amiable enough, and the CG-enhanced storm sequences are suitably menacing. But the film should have taken off once Ford and Heche crash land; instead things stumble from bad to worse (despite some stunning Hawaiian locations), as scene after predictable scene unfolds.
Some of the humour has all the subtlety of Godzilla breaking wind. There's even one of those "'Oh my gosh, there's a horrible insect crawling inside my knickers, can you please get it out?"' moments that will have Sid James spinning in his grave. The bickering scenes lack imagination (Quinn accuses Monroe of having crap tits, for God's sake), while the sudden appearance/ disappearance of bloodthirsty pirates, who include Con Air's Danny Trejo, provide zero thrills and seems tacked onto the script as an afterthought.
Worse still, Ford and Heche must rank as one of the most unconvincing couples in film history. Their relationship never develops satisfactorily and there's an utter lack of chemistry that's difficult to ignore. As the Indiana Jones movies proved, Ford is quite adept at light comedy, while the talented Heche is undoubtedly a star on the rise. But even they can't salvage much from a dud script. Co-star David Schwimmer has little to do as the female lead's duplicitous fiancé, and at times his performance irritatingly (and rather unsurprisingly) strays too close to his Ross character from Friends.
Six Days, Seven Nights will probably still make a few bobat the box office purely because Harrison Ford's in it. But if, after this, he's still interested in doing another romantic adventure, then let's hope it's Indy 4.