The Forgotten Joseph Ruben

This collaboration between director Joseph Ruben (Sleeping With The Enemy) and screenwriter Gerald DiPego (Angel Eyes) would suggest some experience at making thrillers about "strong women." I'd put my money on Julianne Moore in a catfight against Julia Roberts or Jennifer Lopez any day, but she still can't save The Forgotten, whose half-decent concept dissolves into a "very special" episode of The X-Files. Telly Paretta (Moore) is still grieving 14 months after losing her son in a plane crash. But did she actually have one, or has she lost her marbles? She's merely creating a false reality due to a miscarriage, claims her husband (Anthony Edwards), shrink (Gary Sinise) and the authorities that have emerged from the shadows. In order to find out why her memories are being erased, Telly becomes Super Mom, the ultimate maternal fighting machine who will never relent even as ca-raazy forces are coming at her from all sides. She convinces alcoholic single dad Ash (Dominic West), whose daughter was on the same flight, to join her in the paranoid fun. He's a former hockey player and therefore handy to have around to throw a good elbow in a bad guy's face. The Forgotten is visually interesting with a couple of enjoyable shocks but the climax, where everything is explained in five seconds, goes down less comfortably than cod liver oil. Laughably, the DVD release touts its extended cut (including deleted scenes, all two of them) and an incorporated alternate ending that's more ridiculous than the original. Two "making of" featurettes are repetitive and forthright when they should explain how the film went off the rails. Director Ruben must have been curious too, since right at the start of the audio commentary he asks writer DiPego, "So, how did you come up with this cockamamie idea?" Plus: Trailers. (Columbia/Sony)