Review: ‘Lakeview Terrace’

We’ve all had to live with or next door to people we didn’t get along with.  (I once had a roommate that, for reasons unknown, removed his bedroom door, which was next to the kitchen area.  Ironically, this turned into an invasion of my privacy.)  Be they roommates from outer space (did I mention he also ate horse feed?) or neighbors from hell, all pale in comparison when weighed against Samuel Jackson’s disgruntled cop in Lakeview Terrace.

What’s it about? Jackson plays Abel, an LA cop who’s raising his two kids (Regine Nehy and Jaishon Fisher) on his own since his wife died three years earlier.  He runs a strict household and doesn’t put up with anybody’s crap.  But since Abel’s wife passing, his life has been slowly unraveling.  Questions arise about his aggressive work ethic to the point he’s being investigated by Internal Affairs.

Moving in next door are Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington), a young interracial couple who are thrilled with owning their first home.  Something about the Mattsons strikes a nerve in Abel, and instantly he doesn’t like them. Because of his profession and slick know-how of the law, he begins to make Chirs and Lisa’s life a living hell.

This is all set against a backdrop of summer wildfires, which increasingly burn closer and closer to Abel and the Mattson’s homes.

What’s good about it? Jackson is rarely awful in a movie, and here he is no exception.  He plays Abel with a ferocity that makes you thank the good Lord above that he’s not your neighbor and especially not your dad.  Wilson and Washington have good chemistry, and a subplot of Chris and Lisa’s differing opinions on whether or not to have kids feel authentic.

What’s bad about it? For a thriller, it doesn’t really thrill.  Sure, it’s watchable, and there’s a share of tense moments, but not once was I on the edge of my seat.  It’s one of those movies that you’d watch when it airs on TNT.  But for a time killer, you could do much worse.

Perfect for: Samuel L. Jackson fans.

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