Awfully Good: Forces of Nature

Next week is Valentine’s Day! Time for another terrible Ben Affleck romantic comedy!

Forces of Nature (1999)

Director: Bronwen Hughes
Stars: Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, Maura Tierney

Is there a plot?

God hates Ben Affleck and does not want him to be happy.

What's the damage?

FORCES OF NATURE isn't as bad as last year's Valentine's movie GIGLI, but it's also sadly not as entertaining in the same "What brand of crack rock were they smoking?" way.

My girlfriend loves WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, but I'm more partial to the sequel, WHILE YOU WERE GETTING KICKED IN THE FACE.

What you have here is a romantic take on the classic disaster road trip genre, except that FORCES OF NATURE is more SERVING SARA than PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES or IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. In fact, this is the anti-romantic comedy. Your significant other may love Sandra Bullock, but do not let them watch this movie, especially if you want to engage in coitus within a 24-hour period. It's simply just two hours of everyone talking about how terrible marriage and love is. Along the way our characters meet happy cheating people, miserable married people, couples getting divorced, and old people who orgasm. [shudder] The film thinks it's being unique and different by taking this approach, but by the time you throw abandoned children and cardiac arrest in to the mix, you have the ingredients for the worst date movie since Takashi Miike's AUDITION.

What Jennifer Garner has to look forward to every night. And twice on Valentine's Day.

But, really, what did you expect from the writer of MISS CONGENIALITY 1 and 2, TWO WEEKS NOTICE, MUSIC AND LYRICS, and DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS? If you answered "a boring movie where the two leads have zero chemistry" then congratulations! Here's a cookie.

Sandra Bullock's narcolepsy kept the set fun and exciting.

In FORCES OF NATURE, Ben Affleck plays… some guy named Ben…who is uptight and needs to loosen up. En route to his wedding, he meets Sarah, played by Sandra Bullock, a free spirit who can teach him to do just that. What a coincidence! Affleck is pretty much acting as himself here (or at least his typical movie persona), but Sandra Bullock barely comes across as a real human being in this movie. She's a just dull version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl—except she's not really pixie-like. And without the "dream" part. So I guess she's just manic. Bullock attempts to teach the successful, happy Affleck how to live his life to the fullest, despite being herself unemployed, certifiably crazy and a bad person who abandons her children. She even resorts to the cliché of making him go outside and scream at the top of his lungs to free himself from…you know, not acting like a lunatic in public. Plus, the level of discourse between the two stars is just embarrassing. ("I don't deserve heaven." "Oh Sarah, you deserve so much more than you think you do.")


And if you thought the title of the film was a cutesy turn of phrase, it's meant to be taken quite literally. The gods of fate, the aligned stars, and the physical environment on Planet Earth have conspired to make sure Ben Affleck does not make it to his nuptials. At his bachelor party featuring a matador-themed stripper, Ben's grandfather has a heart attack. (Nothing says romantic comedy like myocardial infarctions!) Despite his Pop-Pop blatantly telling him his grandma smells and begging him not to get married, Affleck still gets on a plane to Savannah—but not before a CGI seagull flies in to the jet engine and crashes the aircraft. It is here where he meets Human Nightmare Bullock and together the two, in this day and age of modern technology and convenience, somehow cannot get from New York to Georgia within a week.

I'm not sure why MC Ass-flex's career as a rapper never took off.

First, they hop in to a rented Geo Metro with a stranger, but are soon arrested when he turns out to be a druggie. Next they try a train and somehow manage to get on the one car that's going in a different direction than the rest of the train. (?!) Throughout the rest of the movie, Affleck and Bullock attempt to scam their way through random modes of transportation while dealing with various inclement precipitation, including a hyper-stylized CGI rainstorm that looks like Michael Bay directing The Weather Channel. (There's also a side trip to K-Mart where the stars peruse the store's merchandise via montage and talk about how fantastic it is.) It all devolves to the point where Ben Affleck has to strip at a gay bar for money to buy a used car. Surely, this is a low point in cinema.

No matter how many Oscars he wins, Ben will never live down his cameo in SHOWGIRLS.

Eventually they do make it to Ben's Big Day…in the middle of a hurricane. (Yes, they still decided to have an outdoor wedding in the storm of the century.) Here the movie, which has been literally forcing Affleck and Bullock to fall in love the entire film, goes off the rails as Ben chooses to marry his wife instead, even though both bride and groom were just making out with other people moments before.

I don't really blame him though. Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of "NewsRadio," but I would totally pick Maura Tierney over Sandra Bullock any day. It's not even a contest.

"Best" Line

This is a romantic comedy. So enjoy Ben Affleck's dying grandfather talking about how terrible love and marriage is.

"Best" Parts

1) For the ladies, Ben Affleck stripping at a gay bar. For the men, some Spanish matador chick "balloon stripping" at Affleck's bachelor party.

2) Other memorable moments, including a seagull committing suicide in a jet engine, Michael Bay directing The Weather Channel, and some guy singing poorly.

Nudity Watch

Ben Affleck stripping down to his underoos. Sandra Bullock taking a bath.


Get stuck in a Geo Metro with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There is precipitation
  • Affleck speaks in mushy romantic talk
  • Someone is unfaithful
  • There's product placement
  • Someone sings badly

Double shot if:

  • Sandra Bullock is flat

Thanks and Happy Valentine's Day to Jillian, the only girlfriend who would make AIDS jokes to keep me entertained during this movie.

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: Digital Dorm
Tags: awfully good



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