Mystery, Alaska

Dear David E. Kelley, if this is all you can do on the big screen, please stick to the small screen. It’s not that Mystery, Alaska is a terrible film Mr. Kelley, rather is a little to plain and thin on conflict. See, Mr. Kelley, I am an avid fan of your TV shows. I loved your Picket Fences; I watch Ally McBeal weekly; and I make time just to watch the best of your shows, The Practice. What makes and made these shows so good? Sharp writing, a sense of direction, and conflict. Mr. Kelley you’ve done so well with your words every week on the small screen, what’s up with not doing the same on the big screen?

First you churn on the terrible Lake Placid which isn’t worth even the rent, hell, how did it get made in the first place? Then you turn out this quaint film, Mystery, Alaska about a small fictitious town named Mystery in Alaska where it’s always covered in snow and the people there always ice skate around. The people of the town are quaint just like the movie. You got your quaint sheriff who loves to play hockey, John Biebe (Russell Crowe), and his quaint wife, Donna (Mary McCormack). You got your quaint mayor played by Colm Meaney. You even got Burt Reynolds in the film as a mean judge. But, you know what Mr. Kelley? Everything is just too nice in this film. Sure, there are people who look like they’re the bad guys, like Charles Danner (Hank Azaria) who comes back to his home town with the New York Rangers to challenge the home team because the home team is so good at hockey that they’ve been featured in ESPN. But, the bad guys, well they’re quite nice also.

What we have here, Mr. Kelley, is a film that meanders around for 90 minutes and then ends. Not much but a lot of nice people going about their nice lives. Not much entertainment value either. It’s hard to do this to you Mr. Kelley, but for the second time this year, I’m giving one of your films a Skip, Skip, Skip label because it’s not worth seeing. I beg you Mr. Kelley, bring some of that small screen magic that you bring to Ally McBeal and The Practice to your big screen projects, otherwise stay on the small screen.