Blithely unfettered by internal logic, exhibiting the pacing of a banana slug, and boasting a heroine who makes Betty Crocker seem like a radical feminist, PREMONITION is exactly the reason that the Razzie Awards exist.
Dishonoring the premise of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”, it stars Sandra Bullock as Linda, a woman who comes unstuck in time. Instead of centuries, though, she’s bouncing around the last week in the life of her hunky hubby, Jim (Julian McMahon). One day she gets the news that he’s been killed in a traffic accident, the next day she wakes up and it’s several days earlier and he’s alive and all is right with the world. Of course, all’s not really right, she knows hubby is about to go the way of the dodo bird and she doesn’t have a clue about how to stop that. Just asking him to not go on that fatal business trip doesn’t do the trick. And there’s more going on behind the scenes, which she discovers when she wakes up the next day, and it’s really several days in the future. The thing is, it doesn’t do her the slightest bit of good to be in the future, because aside from a few overheard conversations, she has no memory of what’s happened in the interim. As she continues to bounce back and forth through time, always to a different day and a different set of surprises, people that know her, for example, that she’s never met, she fails to learn anything meaningful. By that I mean she keeps making the same mistakes. Added to that sloppy thanks for a peek into the future is the fact that when she goes into the past, she knows the future, but not the other way around, even when there’s some backtracking because her skipping about the space/time continuum is as random as the plot points. At one point Linda actually sits down and makes a poster-sized chart of what happens when using different colored pens in an attempt to sort it all out. She may have, but it doesn’t help the audience.
Exacerbating all this is the fact that Linda’s life is pointedly boring. She may feel oceans of contentment in the simple joys of being a wife and mother, but, cinematically speaking, watching someone do the laundry is less than thrilling. That is especially true when capturing it all is in the hands of Mennan Yapo, who for some reasons seems to be enthralled by it. Even more annoying he will, with alarming frequency, suddenly switch to an overhead shot that swoops uncertainly through the sky not unlike the unfortunate crow that ends up sizzled on power line during a storm. Perhaps he thinks that if he takes the camera high enough over the scenes, people will be less likely to notice the plot holes and the general dullness of what is going on.
Bullock spends the film with her brow knitting ever more tightly as her character becomes increasingly cranky over what is happening/will happen/already has happened. Just when things reach a zenith of entropy and silliness, Linda gets a series of platitudes in the form of fortune-cookie philosophy from her local priest, who also happens to have a volume on premonitions handy and with the salient passages conveniently bookmarked. But wait, thing begin to pick up a little steam as Jim becomes increasingly puzzled by his wife’s curious behavior and they have it out during a rainstorm. Actually, it’s in the rainstorm. These people leave the cozy snugness of their elegantly appointed, three-bedroom, four and ½ bath home go outside in the rain to have a fight. And then, just to set the cause of women not being chattel back a few centuries, Linda apologizes for being so peculiar lately.
PREMONITION is so inept that it actually has Linda finding Jim alive one morning in the shower, as though no one would remember that trope from “Dallas”. This isn’t just bad cinema, it’s embarrassing for everyone concerned.