"Romancing the Island"
What You Need To Know:
(Ro, LL, VV, SS, NN, A, DD, M) Romantic worldview of man and a woman lost on a desert island; 20 obscenities & 6 vulgarities; man hits men with a log, woman hits man repeatedly with a stick, men shoot machine guns, man shot from a distance, & men shoot missiles at airplane; man feels down woman's pants & implied fornication; rear female nudity, upper male nudity & women in small bathing suits; alcohol use; prescription drug overuse; and, ship hijacked.
SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS is a romantic adventure with big name stars, beautiful scenery, a big name director/producer, but lacking the spark of romance that would make it an effective romantic comedy. Ivan Reitman of GHOSTBUSTERS and TWINS fame directs Harrison Ford and Anne Heche as two unlikely people who get stranded on one of the Tahiti islands. In the words of Quinn Harris, Harrison Ford’s character, “This is just an island. If they do not bring romance with them to the island, they will not find it when they get here.” Reitman neglects to develop the romance in this film between the main characters, depleting the film of its necessary heart. (Knowing that the female lead, Anne Heche, is a lesbian doesn’t help.)
Robin Monroe (Heche) is a successful magazine editor who has a loving boyfriend, Frank (David Schwimmer). They voyage on a beautiful vacation to Makiti Island. Robin and Frank have everything going for them as they arrive in Tahiti. They discover that the normal shuttle to their island has been replaced with an older plane flown by Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford). Though they lack trust in his plane, Quinn nevertheless gets them to Makiti safely for a romantic six days and seven nights together. The first night they spend dancing and kissing, then Frank proposes to Robin, and she agrees to marry him. As Frank is pulled away for a moment, Robin runs into Quinn who does not recognize her, because he is so drunk. He makes a pass at her, then realizes who she is and tries to make up for it as Frank comes back.
The next day Robin receives a phone call from her editor and has to leave the island to go work on a photo shoot in Tahiti. She has to contend with her devotion to Frank or her career and decides that her career takes the top priority. After Frank sulks, she leaves the island with Quinn, who agrees after receiving a substantial payoff. The 15-hour trip is delayed by a storm. The storm grows worse, and the plane is hit by lightning, causing them to lose their radio and force a landing on a deserted island beach.
After waking up the next day, they determine that the island is uninhabited, and they will need to find a way off. This is when the romantic tension begins, and they begin the sexual innuendo that is common in today’s romantic comedies despite the desperation of the character’s situation.
Meanwhile back on Makiti, Frank and Quinn’s girlfriend, Angelica, are going up with search crews to try to find the lost pair. They are both distraught over their potential loss and turn to each other in their time of need. When Frank and Angelica get back to the island, they start to lose hope of finding Robin and Quinn. They decide that the best way to mourn their loss is go to bed together, which causes Frank to show painstaking guilt. Their relationship is shallow, but demonstrates the two-dimensional characters they portray in the movie.
Back on the island, Quinn and Robin are beginning to assess their situation and decide to travel to the top of the island to see if there is a radio beacon. During their travels, they experience animals, mudslides and menacing vegetation, reminiscent of ROMANCING THE STONE. After discovering that no radio beacon exists, they spot a yacht going into a cove of the island. They travel around the island to find the boat and discover that pirates are hijacking the yacht. Robin and Quinn try to get away, but when the pirates see them, a chase scene occurs, and they are eventually caught. Then after a heroic leap from a cliff into the ocean, they escape the pirates temporarily. As they swim to the shore, they begin to kiss on the beach in a scene stolen from, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. They manage to find an old Japanese pontoon plane that crash landed during WW II. With the right tools in the plane itself, they manage to take the pontoons off the plane and get them back to the plane wreck on the beach.
In one day’s worth of work, Quinn and Robin manage to get the plane ship shape. Just as they are doing their last inspection of the plane the pirates come into their cove on a boat. The boat has a missile launcher on its deck, and the pirates begin shooting at the couple on the beach. As Robin and Quinn get ready for take off, Quinn is hit with shrapnel from a missile. Somehow he starts the plane and gets it off the ground. Robin and Quinn arrive on the island safe and reunite with their loved ones. In the few days apart, the relationships have taken new turns, and no one seems to know what to do.
Ivan Reitman uses a formulaic approach to SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS, making it a romantic comedy that falls short. The scenery is breathtaking, and the audience is convinced of the bleakness of the situation. Comic timing helps deliver the dialogue well, but after some comic dialogue, the movie loses its romantic spark and direction. Sexual tension between the two leads does not deliver a convincing romantic center for the story. Dialogue that lasts longer than the ten-second comic sound bites would help. With Heche’s homosexual relationship with Ellen Degeneres, it is difficult to convince the public that Heche can be a convincing romantic lead. Even with all this, Reitman delivers a slick and well-edited movie that lacks the soul of some of his best films.
Harrison Ford is a talented actor who has problems finding the right romantic films to showcase his abilities. He shows that he has good comic timing and can deliver verbal jabs. In SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS, Ford delivers his romantic dialogue unnaturally and fails to be convincing with Heche. David Schwimmer plays the same role in this film that he does on TV’s FRIENDS. While convincing in his role, he shows a lack of imagination in developing the unfaithful boyfriend role. All the roles lacked originality for the film to work as a romantic comedy and for the audience to root for the central characters to get together.
As a comedy, this movie uses many original lines, but also uses too many expletives. The message that love can do all things and surpass any obstacle is missing, and is only true with the Lord and His way for relationships. As a romance, SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS does not take the audience on an emotional roller coaster. The movie actually makes a convincing argument for the two not to end up together. It wastes decent comic dialogue on lackluster performances. The audience comes looking for romance, but they will not find it on this island.