"This is unbelievable."
"Oh my God."
"Oh my God."
So gapes the married couple at the center of Neil LaBute's Lakeview Terrace, the white Chris (Patrick Wilson) and his black wife, Lisa (Kerry Washington). That bit of winning dialogue takes place towards the end of the movie, when an escalating harassment campaign courtesy of their neighbor, played by Samuel L. Jackson, has turned really ugly.
Come on: Is it really so unbelievable that Samuel L. Jackson is so vehemently opposed to miscegenation that when an interracial couple moves in next door, he slashes their tires, vandalizes their air conditioning unit, instigates a shrubbery fight (!?), and hires a thug to trash their house? What if you knew that he was an LAPD officer? Then would it make a little more sense?
Lisa and Chris are an unlikeably saccharine young couple who have just moved into their first home. Race is no issue to these Utne Reader-subscribing liberals, but their grouchy neighbor Abel (Jackson) has it in for the two. You can tell from the beginning, because he's always giving them the meanest stares: scowling, glaring, grimacing, frowning. Every time Lisa and Chris look out the goddamn window, there he is, furiously emoting. Of course, Chris drives a Prius, so he's not gonna do anything about his jerky, creepy neighbor (Prius drivers are pussies, as everybody knows), while Lisa is too busy not taking her birth control pills in an attempt to trick her husband into getting her pregnant.
It doesn't even seem necessary to actually write the words, "This movie is terrible," but just in case: This movie is terrible, albeit in kind of a hilarious way. If a glowering, shrieking Samuel L. Jackson shaking shrubbery at you isn't comedy, I don't know what is.