Lady in the Water (PG-13)
Drama 110 July 21, 2006
It would be a mighty sweet thing to see M. Night Shyamalan as the great redemptive storyteller he clearly thinks he is. But nothing will prepare you for the rampant foolishness of Lady in the Water. It's not easy to get your descriptive jaws around this nut-studded muffin, but it comes down to a bizarre apartment complex in the Pennsylvania woods, its schlubby superintendent (Paul Giamatti), a water-logged nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard) who saves him after he falls in the pool, and a completely fabricated legend involving "narfs," killer-hyena "scrunts," human helpers somehow designated as "the Guardian," the "Symbolist," etc., the "Great Eatlon," yadda yadda. You'd think Shyamalan made this malarkey up in the editing room, but it has also manifested as a children's book that makes just as little sense. What "scrunt" yields when Googled is proof that Shyamalan don't surf, though he does seem to believe that any idea or image that pops into his skull will make a shapely tale, no matter how much cock-and-bull he has to invent to Gorilla Glue it together.