Talk about Safe Sex.
Maybe Richard Gere and Diane Lane would rather be safe than sorry as two wayward souls who try to save each other in Nights in Rodanthe, a weeper for the Middle Age Crazy set (and you know who you are).
This is the third pairing of Gere and Lane. They fought like immature newlyweds while dealing with danger and 1930s gangsters in 1984’s The Cotton Club, then portrayed unhappily married husband and wife in 2002’s Unfaithful, which earned Lane an Academy Award nomination as an unsatisfied woman who gets involved in a steamy affair with a young foreign hunk. Those roles for Gere and Lane obviously didn’t allow their characters to connect on an intense, emotional level.
Finally, the charming Gere and the lovely Lane are put under the right circumstances to heat up the screen (and the audience) in Nights in Rodanthe, a soap-sudsy drama based on a best-selling novel. Dr. Paul Flanner (Gere) is the lone guest for four nights at a North Carolina beach-side inn, and he eventually falls for Adrienne Willis (Lane).
This desperate housewife with a rebellious teenage daughter (is there any other kind?) and a geek of a son has been deserted by her philandering husband (Christopher Meloni) known as “Reptile Jack.” He soon begs her to allow him to come back home but she leaves them all behind (wouldn’t you?) to run the inn for her friend, Jean (Viola Davis, who gets all the best lines). While making dinner for Flanner for the first time, the sounds of blues legend Dinah Washington and the Big Band Era’s Count Basie fill the room. If this film is trying to appeal to old-timers, happy days are here again.
Gere and Lane, who are as beautiful as the coastal Carolina scenery, pass the chemistry test with flying colors. Gere, out of place as a Bob Dylan incarnation in 2007’s I’m Not There, is back on the romantic track while Lane, last seen in the unforgivable Untraceable, turns in her best performance since 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun.
They look incredible together, they play well off each other and they appear to be having a good time as damaged goods looking for love the second time around.