Two If by Sea (1996) – Review

3 Stars

Two if by the Sea was made at the height of star Sandra Bullock’s box-office power and it still bombed in theaters. Unfairly, if you ask me. This is a charming little romantic comedy that is funnier than you might expect. Co-star Denis Leary penned the screenplay and plays opposite Bullock. His wise-cracks and cankerous personality are the comedic engine that powers the story’s mechanics.

Frank O’Brien (Denis Leary) is a sometimes general contractor, but mostly a thief. He’s recently stolen a $4 million dollar painting and is instructed to meet the buyer at an abandoned fish plant in a sleepy, affluential seaside community in New England. Frank plans on hanging in the town for a few days among the jet-setters to impress his long-suffering girlfriend Roz (Sandra Bullock).

The pair is being pursued by an F.B.I. agent (Yaphet Kotto), who has been trying to catch Frank for years. Meanwhile, a squad of incompetent tough guys from Boston are attempting to get to Frank, but keep encountering obstacles on their journey upstate. Roz and Frank’s relationship is also tested by the arrival of a sophisticated art collector named Evan March (Stephen Dillane), who has an attraction to Roz.

The laughs are just prominent enough to move the film through its rough spots. Director Bill Bennett makes so interesting directorial choices and while there isn’t romantic chemistry between the leads, there is a playfulness that is infectious. Bullock charms and Leary delivers the chuckles in the overlooked, Two If by Sea.

Director: Bill Bennett
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary, Yaphet Kotto

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