Fans of horror, thrillers, and the films of Sandra Bullock will find "Premonition" puzzling since it fails to honor any of them.
Instead, it's a movie only a psychic could love, since a psychic would know to stay home or see "Zodiac" instead. The rest of us? Well, we wanted to be scared for Sandra, knowing that she'd be playing a woman who wakes up in different, non-sequential days of the week and that on some days her blandly handsome husband (Julian McMahon ) would be dead. But from the first scene, Bullock looks dead herself. Maybe she knows she'll be upstaged by a musical score and sound effects that can't wait to go crazy around her, which they do for pretty much the entire movie.
The morning after hearing that her husband was killed in a car crash -- day two of her shuffled life -- Bullock walks slowly (always very slowly) into the kitchen, as the music explodes and the camera stares at a pillar with a man behind it. The screeching orchestrations are meant to signify that something shocking is about to be revealed. But the shock is only that the screenwriter, Bill Kelly, and the director -- Mennan Yapo , a German making his Hollywood debut -- think they have one in store for us. Who, other than the husband, did they believe we would expect to see behind that pillar? (OK, my money was on Keanu Reeves, but still.)
Every morning Bullock wakes up and remembers the previous day's events and slowly begins to piece together that she's in a relentlessly stale copy of "Groundhog Day." Her mother (Kate Nelligan ) and her only friend (Nia Long) conspire to have her institutionalized. Amber Valletta plays someone harboring a hokey secret about Bullock's marriage. And after one of her two little daughters runs through a glass door, a dead crow is stumbled upon, and Lithium is prescribed, Bullock turns to a priest who tells her she needs to believe in something greater than herself. But the last thing anybody wants from a horror-thriller, let alone from a Sandra Bullock movie, is a lecture on faithlessness.
Since it won't -- or can't -- scare, "Premonition" opts to moralize. This would be tolerable if the moral weren't such a joke, and the movie weren't such a cynical, suspenseless slog. Bullock doesn't seem remotely interested in being here, anyway. This is a case of a star forgetting what an audience loves to see her do. If she found comedies too confining, schlock seems to box her in too, just as it did for Jim Carrey in "The Number 23." Bullock doesn't lower herself to embarrassing material the way, say, Julianne Moore gamely can. Bullock chooses to give virtually no performance at all. The nasally sarcasm she uses so effectively in her comedic work turns petulant and defensive here. It's as if her new default setting for seriousness is that nasty woman she played in "Crash."
There are occasional moments where Bullock seems to be in on some cosmic joke, like when she mutters a hilarious quip to McMahon about how tomorrow he could be dead. A movie this stupid requires a star willing to tell us she knows what's up in pretty much every scene. Instead, Bullock sucks the life out of whatever kick this movie might have had. In her defense, few stars could have redeemed the oppressive contraptions of the script or the illogic of the filmmaking. Maybe she thought that she, too, could wake up and this movie would never have happened. If so, that would make two of us.