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Sleepwalking

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Angel Eyes (R)
Warner Bros.

So little actually happens in this sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes boring little movie that it's hard to recall many specific scenes.

I have a faint memory of Jim Caviezel (Pay It Forward), a homeless-looking guy in a long overcoat, reaching into a car parked against a curb then turning around to be scolded by a tough-looking, muscular female cop (Jennifer Lopez). "You left your lights on," says the guy, whose name turns out to be Catch -- no last name -- and Lopez watches him walk sadly away.

Soon after, Catch does another good deed for his good-looking, single-mom neighbor down the hall, removing the key from the outside lock of her door and returning it to her.

He likes her little boy too, and he has a cute dog named Bob.

Thus we are led to know that Catch is good, not a lurking psychopath, even though he has a creepy habit of stalking Sharon, the cop, and hunching down beneath the weight of that overcoat. And when Catch jumps out from a dark corner to rescue Sharon from a raging cop killer, we know they're meant for each other.

Director Luis Mandoki imbues every scene in Angel Eyes with a moodiness akin to the blues but less sexy. And writer Gerald DiPego dances delicately around the personal issues that keep both Catch and Sharon from revealing the hang-ups that have led them to lives of loneliness and emotional isolation.

Eventually, after much parrying, some light petting, a few smooches and some snooping in each other's drawers (he finds panties, she finds plastic action figures), Catch and Sharon begin to reveal the dark secrets of their pasts -- he lost his family in a horrible car accident during one brief moment of inattention at the wheel; she called the cops on her abusive father to keep him from beating up her mother and was disowned by the males of her family for it. Trust doesn't come easy for either of them.

So there you have it, basically. The viewer waits through one beautiful-looking scenario after another -- Lopez reclining alone on her bed late at night, strapped into a bulletproof vest; Sharon and Catch swimming beneath the moonlight in a glittering watering hole -- hoping for a plot to unfold, to no avail. There is no plot, except the eventual revelation that the two have met before, no suspense, no beginning, no middle and a hokey end.

Lopez and Caviezel are both so attractive that the camera-lingering aspects of the film are quite pleasant. And both are good in their respective roles -- tough cop, next to Latino pop sensation, is what Lopez does best (remember Out of Sight?), and Caviezel seems born to play glazed-eyed wanderers with no real identity who just might turn psycho at any given moment (remember The Thin Red Line?).

But a missing plot essentially means death to a movie that dwells in the land of gritty reality. Much as we enjoy gazing into the angel eyes of these two lonesome creatures, we wish more that something -- anything! -- would happen. One of the film's most startling moments reveals a nasty black-and-purple bruise on Lopez's chest where a bullet slammed into her vest. The viewer wakes up for just a quick moment, then falls back into a somnambulistic state.

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