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Sleeping can't duplicate Sleepless but still satisfies

Peter (Peter Gallagher) and Lucy (Sandra Bullock) are would-be lovers in While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping

Directed by Jon Turteltaub.

Written by Daniel G Sullivan and Fredric Lebow.

Starring Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, and Jack Warden.

Sony Copley Place.

By Kamal Swamidoss
Staff Reporter

T his is a romantic comedy with a lot of classic scenes. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a lonely Chicago Transit Authority worker who falls in love with Peter (Peter Gallagher), a nice guy who rides the train to work. She has never really met him, but she sees him every day. She's waiting for the right opportunity to meet him when one day, she saves him from a speeding train. He's ends up at the hospital in coma, and through some misunderstandings, his family believes that she's his fiance.

Lucy wants very much to be loved. She has been missing the love of a family for a long time. She sees the happiness in Peter's family and she wants to be a part of it, but she knows that his family must know the truth. So while Peter is in a coma, Lucy is trying to decide between pretending to be his fiance and telling his family that she doesn't know him. Then she meets Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), and the plot thickens.

What follows are romantic scenes and some scenes that I think are a little silly. But in the words of one romantic, "That's what true romance is about. You know you've attained love when you can be silly around each other." In any event, the film is always fun to watch.

It doesn't seem believable that Lucy could get into this situation, but it's entertaining to see how she copes with her situation. When pressed, she's always hesitant to say she's Peter's fiance. She never denies it, and she doesn't often say it, but something always ends up giving that impression. This creates a lot of the funny scenes.

This is a feel-good film in much the same style as Dave. The story is unbelievable, but that isn't important. It's entertaining because from the start, the story and characters evolve in a likable way. The film isn't jaded or cynical; it's a funny love story that you could bring your younger siblings, your girlfriend, or your parents to enjoy.

The film often feels like a play, and that adds to its romantic quality. There are no effects which make specific use of the properties of the silver screen and surround sound. Much of the running time consists of dialogue. Some of the events simply feel like they would be great in a play. This tone is set early in the film, and for some reason it helps overcome (even more than good direction in an action film) the looking-into-a-window effect that films generally give.

Sandra Bullock is great as Lucy; she's very expressive. You really want Lucy to find love, in large part because of how convincingly Bullock plays her role. She performs well in both the romantic and comedic scenes.

While You Were Sleeping is essentially a romantic film. It's a nice date movie, or a movie to see with a bunch of friends. I wouldn't see it for uniquely cinematic excellence. I expect it will be a big release on video, but I don't think it will do well at the theater for no particular reason other than it doesn't fully use the features of the big-screen medium.