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‘While You Were Sleeping’ (PG)By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 24, 1995
"While You Were Sleeping" is a sappy, negligible, thoroughly innocuous romantic comedy vehicle for Sandra Bullock. Its attitude seems to be: You met her and liked her in "Speed," now get to know her better. But while it's easy to like her, liking the movie is another matter.
As the movie begins, Lucy (Bullock) is stuck in a nowhere job dispensing tokens for the Chicago subway. She has a cat, an apartment and "sole possession of the remote control." Without boyfriend or family, she trudges through her days in a state of semi-depression, dreaming of a change but not banking on it.
There is one bright spot, though, each morning between 8 and 8:15. The man of her dreams—a dapper lawyer named Peter (Peter Gallagher) rushes past her booth, pausing only to buy a token. For months, Lucy tries to strike up a conversation, but every time she loses her nerve.
Then one Christmas Day, Peter is accosted on the platform by a couple of thugs and tossed onto the tracks. With a train barreling down on him, Lucy swings into action, jumps onto the tracks and saves the lawyer's life.
What follows is a tangled web of romantic misunderstanding heavier on the schmaltz than the comedy. Peter is left comatose by the attack, and in the confusion following the rescue, Lucy becomes known not just as his rescuer but also as his fiancee. She is instantly clasped to the Callahan family bosom, and for the first time she experiences the close-knit family life she has always longed for.
With each passing day, Lucy grows more and more attached to the family, and the task of coming clean becomes tougher and tougher. To make matters worse, Peter's brother Jack (Bill Pullman) shows up—suspicious, at first—but gradually he comes to envy his unconscious brother's good luck in finding Lucy first. Jack and Lucy are thrown together more and more, and it's immediately apparent that Lucy is more Jack's type than his brother's.
After a couple of brief encounters, Lucy figures that out too. Peter may be her ideal, her knight in shining armor, but Jack is the sort of man with whom she can share a laugh and her modest life. Jack is her true love—but how can she convince the family that she was never engaged to poor knock\ed-out Peter?
Throughout this Jon Turteltaub film, Bullock shows the same offhand comic timing that made her so appealing in "Speed." As Jack, Pullman makes a steady if slightly mousy romantic foil. In smaller roles as Peter's family and friends, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden and Glynis Johns are all deliciously batty and loose. You can see why this lonely girl wants to be part of them. In their perfectly average manner, they're pretty remarkable.
While You Were Sleeping" is rated PG-13.
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