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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    M. Night Falls: The Decline of M. Night Shyamalan

    By Kyle | June 2, 2008

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” appears almost certain to be his second straight flop, after “The Lady in the Water,” whose script was so bad it was rejected by his longtime partner studio Disney. My dart-throwing colleague Sara Stewart, in a long piece in yesterday’s Post, points out that his other hits, “The Village” and “Signs,” were also stinkeramas, compares him to Lucy Van Pelt (“Just give the old ball a kick. I promise I won’t move it this time”) and psychoanalyzes the sources of his staggering arrogance: “He’s isolated himself,” says Movie City News analyst David Poland. “He lives in Pennsylvania.” Says Shyamalan: “I’ve made profit a mathematic certainty. I’m the safest bet you got.” Sham-a-lan! “Lady in the Water” lost tens of millions for Warner Bros, which was not eager to work with him again. Two studios burned, four left!

    Thus the Mark Wahlberg film “The Happening” is happening at Fox. It’s rumored to be some sort of global-warming groaner. Fox seems prepared for the movie to underwhelm but Stewart finds an exec who reasons that Night’s films don’t cost more than $50 or $60 million, so the risk is slight (though “s–tty reviews” seem to be expected). Translation: people will see the movie before word gets out about how stupid the twist is. Says Lou Lumenick: maybe audiences aren’t going to continue to be that gullible. Fox still hasn’t announced when they are screening the film, opening next Friday, meaning a possible pre-birth burial of holding no critics’ screenings whatsoever, though the last time I reported that, on the Ewan McGregor-Hugh Jackman flop, “Deception,” they reversed course a day or two later. Meanwhile, M. Night is in full damage-control mode, giving the standard I’m-a-misunderstood-genius but I’ve learned humility Times interview that is guaranteed not to change anyone’s mind. (Unintended laugh line from the interview: it says Shyamalan “broke off his relationship with Disney,” which is a bit like saying Jennifer Aniston broke off her relationship with Brad Pitt.)

    Topics: Movies | 9 Comments »

    9 Responses to “M. Night Falls: The Decline of M. Night Shyamalan”

    1. Christian Toto Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 5:21 pm

      I’m a pretty forgiving person, but getting past “Lady in the Water” may require two more movies as good as “The Sixth Sense.” Maybe three.

    2. Peter T Chattaway Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 6:47 pm

      A friend of mine in Washington DC says a screening has been announced there for the morning of June 10 — three days before the film opens. But here in Vancouver BC, nothing — at least not yet.

    3. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 8:02 pm

      @ Kyle – But Jennifer Aniston didn’t break off her relationship with Brad Pitt. He left her for Angelina Jolie. Do try and keep up, man!

    4. kishke Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 8:53 pm

      Is Hunter for real?

    5. Jack Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 8:59 pm

      Signs grossed over 200 million dollars.

    6. blackhawk12151 Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 9:14 pm

      @ Hunter

      Lemme break this down for you:

      Brad Pitt dumped Jennifer Aniston just like Disney dumped Shyamalan. Therefore Kyle’s comment that the “broke off” line from the interview is not quite accurate works and is humorous

      Got all that?

    7. kyle Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 10:38 pm

      Everyone be nice to Hunter. He’s English. They haven’t quite caught up to America in irony.

    8. Patrick Says:
      June 2nd, 2008 at 11:48 pm

      I believe we’re at a point in American film where we pray for no more of Shyamalan simply because we don’t want to see his flops become fodder for even greater flops, most notably the Scary Movie shittacular franchise.

    9. Joseph Kastner Says:
      July 7th, 2008 at 10:11 pm

      I use to love M. Night Shyamalan. I didn’t dig The Sixth Sense so much – five minutes into I knew Bruce Willis’s character was dead – but Unbreakable and, in particular, Signs were masterpieces. Then came The Village, which was great until the last 1/3 of the picture in which I was just aghast at how the up and coming director had so little respect for his audience. I was still willing to give M. Night a second chance. Then I read ‘The Man Who Heard Whispers’ and I thought to myself, ‘Man, this guy is paranoid, arrogant, a brat, and a prick … maybe I don’t like him so much any more”. After seeing ‘The Lady in the Water’, I gave up M. Night recovering any of the former glory he once had.