By Mark Ramsey | 2000/04/28

This week in the news, Kevin Spacey denied any immediate intention of doing The Pink Panther. Says Kevin, “I’ve been too exhausted doing The Brown Trout and The Peach Dragon, plus I’m very much in love with that woman who accompanied me to the Oscars: Shirley or Sheila or something.”

In Frequency, the colorful aurora borealis envelops the northern hemisphere thanks to unusually overzealous sunspots. Coincidentally, Jim Caviezel (from The Thin Red Line) pulls out his dad’s old ham radio so he can talk to all the people in the world who haven’t discovered they can do this way better on the Internet. Maybe that explains why the only other person on the airwaves is Jim’s dad, the vastly underrated Dennis Quaid.

But, see, Jim’s dad is dead.

Thanks to the mysteries of the universe, one sun has done another son a favor: Jim’s frequency has crossed the ribbon of time back to 1969, and he realizes he can apply correction tape to the typos of the past and save the lives of his parents with little more than a 10-4, good buddy – all for a lot less than the cost of AT&T.

Frequency flips back and forth between the late 60′s and the late 90′s, much like Timothy Leary and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

As solar flares ignite the northern lights, ham radio frequencies open into multiple temporal dimensions. Surprisingly, Dick Cavett has a talk show in both dimensions, and – not surprisingly – ratings in neither. That Stan Winston and his special effects wizards have done it again. They’ve created a Dick Cavett so lifelike, when you trace a line between Dick’s liver spots, it forms a hypnotic, trance-inducing message and, coincidentally, a symbolic representation of an alien similar to ancient rock carvings in Central Asia.

Frequency is about a father and son who use the paradoxes of time to confuse the audience, get closer, fight fires, confuse the audience, save lives, confuse the audience, and stop a serial killer. And here you thought ham radio was limited to Rush and Dr. Laura!

Is it possible to turn back time? I don’t know, but if anybody could, Faye Dunaway would have already done it, judging by the looks of her.

frequency_dennisradio.jpgThanks to my movie critic training in advanced theoretical physics, I learned that string theory predicts the universe has eleven dimensions. That’s ten more than Denise Richards has, unless you count the three dimensions between her shoulders which, incidentally, have been named National Historic Landmarks by L.A. area rock-climbers. “The reason I don’t wear a bra,” explains Denise, “is that it won’t fit over the flags planted by Admiral Byrd.”

Frequency may be one of the most underrated movies of the year. And the folks underrating it most are the ones who produced it and are doing a crappy job of selling it. I know Frequency is a time-twister, but where did New Line place their ad schedule, 1969? This marketing budget’s not string theory, it’s shoe-string theory. If only they had dropped in one frame of Austin Powers all their troubles would be over.

Lots of critics bitch about the “time lapses” in logic here. To Hell with ‘em. Nobody scoffed at a kid talking to dead people, did they? If Matt McConaughey can captain a sub without being laughed out of the Navy, then it seems to me we can cut Frequency some slack. If a ride has to be believable to be fun, then how do we explain Star Wars?

Besides, even more incredible than the ham-across-time plot is the notion that Jim can set his mom’s VCR, but not the clock. Dude, the clock?

With any justice and a little luck, Frequency will become a cult sci-fi classic. This movie is anything but Marconi baloney. More than string theory, Frequency is a damn good yarn.


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