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'Six Days': Love Trip

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 12, 1998

  Movie Critic


Six Days, Seven Nights
Harrison Ford and Anne Heche star in "Six Days, Seven Nights." (Touchstone)

Director:
Ivan Reitman
Cast:
Harrison Ford;
Anne Heche;
David Schwimmer;
Temeura Morrison;
Danny Trejo
Running Time:
1 hour, 46 minutes
R
For language, sensuality and some violence
Anne Heche's New York fashion plate faces a fate worse than the inability to accessorize: "Six Days, Seven Nights" in rum-punch hell with "Friends" uber-geek David Schwimmer. Happily, Harrison Ford's craggy cargo pilot rescues her not only from a week of hula dancing but also a permanent commitment to her sappy fiance.

Romantic comedies don't get more formulaic than this bouncing-screwball valentine, but then they don't get much more delightful, either. The same goes for Heche and Ford as squabbling opposites drawn together during this tropical adventure.

"Romancing the Stone" is the obvious influence, but director Ivan Reitman and writer Michael Browning also clink their umbrella-garnished drinks at "The African Queen," "The Flight of the Phoenix" and "From Here to Eternity."

Ford, too, seems to have turned to past roles for inspiration. The film's seasoned fly-boy, Quinn Harris, is basically Han Solo with a Viagra prescription. He's still a lovable rogue with a jury-rigged crate for hire, still ruggedly handsome with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

But as the 56-year-old Quinn, he's repeatedly called upon to assure his leading lady that he's "old but sturdy," that the "equipment still works," that "I still am good." All right already.

A skirt-chasing, hard-drinking aviator, Quinn makes a comfortable living hauling freight and the occasional tourist from one South Seas island to the next. He's content with life in the slow lane when glamorous Gothamite Robin Monroe (Heche) charters his plane.

Robin, a frazzled magazine editor, is on vacation when her boss cajoles her into overseeing a one-day photo shoot on another island. After smoothing things over with her petulant fiance (Schwimmer), Robin flys off to Tahiti with Quinn.

They're only halfway there when a storm forces them to crash land on an uncharted isle. The landing gear is disabled along with the radio, so the two castaways must overcome their differences if they expect to overcome the dangers ahead and enjoy the rugged coastal scenery that surrounds them.

Robin's gibes give way to open admiration when Quinn turns out to be "one of those guys you send out into the wilderness with a pocket knife and a Q-Tip and they build you a shopping mall."

Quinn also comes to appreciate his leggy companion's pluck and to bask in the younger woman's trust and adoration. And suddenly the life that seemed so simple becomes complicated by sexual urges and messy feelings. But this movie is so old-fashioned that the pair resist temptations because she has a prior engagement.

Meanwhile back at the resort, her fiance and Quinn's current girlfriend (Jacqueline Obradors) drown their sorrows in an ocean of mai-tais, then stagger off to comfort one another in the privacy of her bungalow. The swine could pass for the main course at a luau.

Okay, so it's not deep or surprising, but few romantic comedies are. They are, in fact, foolishly outdated fantasies that wouldn't work in real life. But that's what we wanted, to be swept away.

"Six Days, Seven Nights" is a movie, and Heche and Ford aren't really going to live happily ever after. They're actors. Heche, the world's most notorious lipstick lesbian, isn't even interested in men, although she seems to have mastered the nuances of heterosexuality, mysterious though they are.

   
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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