Just when you were beginning to pass your grade school learning what little Miss
Muffet was eating when she saw that creepy spider and suffered that bout of arachnophobia,
Director Lee Tamahori decides to jump into the nightmare while the water is still
warm, and springs this 'almost-ghastly-but-not-quite-there' movie in our face.
The usual cops and kidnappers formula is wrapped and re-wrapped in shiny paper,
and seems to be praying rather loudly and quite fervently that we iodine-deficient,
simpleminded people won't notice it.
Morgan Freeman, how I love him, plays a cop who's spending his days sulking over the death of his partner who dies in a car crash. This incidentally is the only way that cops' partners die in Hollywood. Anyways, he is smoked out of his hole when a Senator's daughter is kidnapped.
This kid, Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), has been abducted by the latex-wearing psycho Gary Soneji (no, he's not Sindhi), who was all the while posing as her teacher. This guy doesn't want a ransom - we told you he was nuts - but wants to go down in the books of history with the 'crime of the century'. Unfortunately a turbaned man from the desert has beaten him to it, but don't tell Soneji, poor guy.
But hell, this is where the forensic detective Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) teams up with the cosmetically enhanced Jessie Flannagan (Monica Potter) for the search for the missing kid and the deranged kidnapper.
This is where you begin to yawn and lose interest, 'coz you have seen the stuff ever since your pupils could register sight. Morgan has to race up and down DC trying to find the dumb kid, and bounces from pay phone to pay phone and cell to cell struggling to get the kidnapper. Why in the good Lord's name can't he just trace the damn calls?
The entire movie then has you squirming in your seat trying to break free. Ah, if only gravity was kinder. The film does look neat, though, and a couple of scenes are cool and pretty stylish. But it doesn't exactly make you chew your nails out in suspense. Director Lee Tamahori has nothing new to offer, and the film seems to have been made in the precise moment when his train of thought was boarding at the station.
Freeman adds great dignity in his role, and looks kinda like the cop whom you might entrust your car keys, wallet and your entire bug collection to without a second thought. Potter, on the other hand, is the result of an extremely talented makeup department. She has a constant innocent expression, which makes it hard to believe that she actually knows what the FBI stands for. The antagonist played by Michael Wincott has a gravelly voice that road makers would be proud of.
Along Came A Spider is no match for Freeman's 'Kiss The Girls' with the spunky
Ashley Judd, but it does reasonably well, with a few twists and turns thrown in
for effect. En fin, this film is the sorts which make you reach for your slippers
in a bid to squash the nasty bug so that it doesn't turn up again with the dumb
formulaic movies. But hell, it beats watching medieval
tramping across the screen. You could get all cushy and vegetate in
front of the screen for a while, before going home with a dazed expression that
the web of absurdity caused. But hey, what are masochistic tendencies for?