Picks and Pans Review: While You Were Sleeping
There's a 1950 Barbara Stanwyck film, No Man of Her Own, that is one of the most achingly romantic movies ever made. It's by no means a great picture, but it gets to you. In it, Stanwyck is pregnant and unwed and headed out of town when her train crashes. A newlywed couple onboard is killed, and the husband's family mistakes Stanwyck for the daughter-in-law they have never seen. They are so loving, and she is so in need of support and a family that she just can't confess her true identity, and soon she is slow dancing with her dreamboat faux brother-in-law.
What does all this have to do with the pleasant but wispy new romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping? Plenty, because although Sleeping is not based on No Man, it features a lonely heroine (Bullock) who is mistaken for the fiancée of a man in a coma (Gallagher), is embraced by his family, plays along and promptly begins mooning over his brother (Pullman). Sleeping gets to you too, but never with the raw emotional jolt of the Stanwyck film. Directed by Jon Turteltaub, Sleeping remains agreeable throughout, but it's clear from the start where the story is going, and there are too few twists along the way.
What the movie does offer is a delectable performance by Bullock (Speed), who is funny and vulnerable and almost makes you buy her character's diving into this charade. Pullman is equally appealing as her suitor, while Gallagher, after spending two-thirds of the movie in a coma, exhibits befuddled charm. In supporting roles, Peter Boyle, Michael Rispoli and Jack Warden each shine in an amusing scene or two. (PG)