- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some viewers may have a sixth sense that they already know most of “Premonition’s” secrets after watching the trailer.

They’re right.

As the previews show, director Mennan Yapo’s psychological thriller is about wife and mother Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock), who learns one day that her husband, Jim (“Nip/Tuck’s” Julian McMahon), has died in a car accident. The next morning, he’s alive again, and the next, gone.

She’s living the days that bookend the disaster out of sequence, and the film hopes that audiences will be intrigued by her struggle to understand what’s happening and eventual quest to prevent the tragedy.

It’s hard to be invested in a plot-driven movie, however, when you already know or can easily deduce most of the twists — such as that Linda will seem insane to others, that she’ll turn to faith for answers and that maybe Jim isn’t as good a guy as she thinks.

If the turns on this narrative road are a bit too transparent, screenwriter Bill Kelly’s script is in other ways elusive to a fault. Some characters are almost completely extraneous, such as the best girlfriend played by Nia Long. Even the leads and their fading relationship — if, indeed, that’s the intended characterization here — don’t seem fully realized. Since we never really feel or see any passion between Jim and Linda, it’s hard to lament its loss, whether caused by children and a mortgage or death.

The script betrays several missed opportunities to build a richer and more complex framework. In the opening sequence, for example, Linda wonders how Jim got the money to buy her their impressive first home. The audience also wonders.

Later, an insurance retailer explains that the morning of his accident, Jim tripled his life-insurance coverage and remarks that he’s surprised — even a bit startled — by the timing. So is the audience.

And doesn’t the police officer who broke the bad news to Linda seem a bit sinister? Is he in on the big conspiracy, too?

Again, the audience doesn’t know. By this time, the audience may no longer care.

Miss Bullock may be a box office lure with her everywoman charms, and she fills out the role as best she can, crafting a convincing mom. But in light of her character’s muddled emotions and even murkier relationship, it’s a losing battle.

**

TITLE: “Premonition”

RATING: PG-13 (some violent and disturbing content, brief language)

CREDITS: Directed by Mennan Yapo. Screenplay by Bill Kelly.

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

WEB SITE: www.sonypictures. com/movies/premonition

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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