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‘While You Were Sleeping’ (PG)By Kevin McManus
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 21, 1995
Sandra Bullock, last seen hurtling toward stardom in "Speed," decelerates in "While You Were Sleeping." A wobbly romantic comedy, "Sleeping" plays its romantic elements just right, but badly botches the comedy. Bullock plays Lucy, a Chicago Transit Authority token clerk. Lucy has a great big crush on handsome commuter Peter (Peter Gallagher), who daily passes her booth without making eye contact. One morning, Peter gets mugged and tumbles unconscious from the train platform. Lucy leaps down and rolls him off the tracks, saving his life, and then follows his ambulance to the hospital.
"That's the man I was going to marry," she laments, whimsically, as she watches a trauma team prepping Peter for surgery. Overhearing the remark, a nurse spreads the word that Lucy is Peter's fiancee.
Why doesn't Lucy promptly set the record straight? She wants to, but . . . well, darn, she likes the idea of being this guy's fiancee. And when Peter's kindly parents and sister show up, the notion seems even more appealing to Lucy, an only child whose parents are deceased.
Abandoning the charade becomes harder still when Lucy meets Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman). Good-looking and well-mannered, Jack may be a perfect match for sweet-natured Lucy.
With their compatibility firmly established, it's time for Peter to come out of his deep sleep. When he does, he's got a surprise or two of his own to reveal.
Despite a satisfying finale, "Sleeping" is riddled with inane dialogue and peripheral characters who are ludicrous but not amusing. Cringe-inducing moments abound. When Lucy wants to install a Christmas tree in her apartment, she ties the trunk with sturdy rope and, from her window, drags the tree up the building's exterior. When a electrified CTA "El" train bears down on Peter, it sounds a locomotive whistle. And at the family Christmas party, as Peter lies in a coma downtown, his jolly family members notice Peter's fiancee and brother Jack under mistletoe and insist that they kiss.
Still, Bullock and Pullman exhibit lots of chemistry, and several of the movie's intentionally comical moments do merit chuckles or guffaws.
Peter's junior high school sister, rushing into the kitchen, tells her parents she's just heard that Lucy is pregnant with Peter's child. The startled adults have no idea how to react. After an uncomfortable silence, the father glares at the girl and snaps, "Go to your room!"
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (PG) — Contains oblique sexual references.
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