The Deep End of the Ocean spends too much time in the shallows

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The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
Rating: 2.5 of 5.
Directed by Ulu Grosbard.
Written by Stephen Schiff.
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Treat Williams, Jonathan Jackson, Ryan Merriman, John Kapelos.
Budget: $38 million.
Gross: $28 million.

Michelle Pfeiffer stars at Beth Cappadora, a grieving mother of three who struggles with spiraling depression following the disappearance of her three-year old son. Nine years after the incident the family moves to Chicago and encounters a neighborhood boy who bears a striking resemblance to her long lost son.

The movie is a bit campy at times and never really feels authentic. The actors do well to inhabit their roles, but the music rarely matches the scene and the plot simply unfolds rather than the characters actually driving it.

Whoopi Goldberg’s character could have been cut completely, and more time should have been devoted to fleshing out the relationship between John Kapelos and the Cappadoras.  With a runtime of only 108 minutes, it could have easily been extended by half an hour to add a few more scenes with some real drama. Stephen Schiff’s dialogue also needed some serious work.

Deep End works, but only barely. It’s worth catching on television, but won’t make anyone’s list of favorites.