It's as old as the Hollywood hills: a mismatched couple - she dainty, he gruff - thrown together in unforeseen circumstances, unexpectedly find mutual respect, then lurve in exotic climes. Ivan Reitman's colourful, lightweight multi-hyphenate (romance-comedy-adventure) eschews a 90s spin on this Tinseltown staple, opting instead to embrace the old chestnut factor to the full. The result might not stand comparison with Bogart-Hepburn classic The African Queen (or even Romancing The Stone) but has enough traditional entertainment value to pull it through.
The set-up sees Robin Monroe (Heche, pronounced Haish), the workaholic assistant editor of a glossy women's mag, spirited away by zealously romantic boyfriend Frank (Schwimmer) to a remote tropical idyll for a loved-up breakaway. Once there, Frank proposes marriage and she accepts. However, unable to escape the pull of her job, Robin also accepts to supervise a one-day photo shoot in nearby Tahiti. Enter cargo pilot Quinn Harris (Ford) whom Robin enlists to undertake the short haul flight to the location. Yet, the single prop plane is greased by lightning and Quinn is forced to crash land the aircraft on an unknown island, wrecking the landing gear, with no means of escape.
Although following formula to the letter, there is much to enjoy in this desert island dish: scary animal antics (Ford fishing inside Heche's shorts for a runaway snake), a run in with modern day pirates (Ford doing what he does best - punching out villains) and mucho humour derived from learning survival techniques and the difference between Heche's big city ways and Ford's homespun simple philosophy. The beach shenanigans are interwoven with Frank's worry over the whereabouts of his fianc_e - the search is called off after a few days - and finding solace in the arms of Quinn's arm candy Angelica (Jennifer Obradors).
What prevents Six Days Seven Nights from being truly great instead of merely good is its lack of all round sparkle; the chemistry between the two leads never really ignites, Reitman's direction is solid without verve and the writing can't quite find the snap in the bickering or, later, the heartrending sentiment in the romance. Moreover, the comedy is often too broadly drawn, perhaps the worst offender being Schwimmer, who overuses the Ross-isms, never really hitting the comic subtleties inherent in his romantic quandary.
As far as the sparring partners go, Heche just about edges the acting honours, imbuing her 1990s businesswoman with a sparky, kooky quality in a performance bordering on starmaking. With little to work with, Ford lends Quinn his trademark sloppy charm, irascible grizzle and intrepid spirit to an underwritten role.
It is blatantly obvious from the get-go that Heche will prove herself competent in the Robinson Crusoe stakes and that Ford will soften to her charms. But if these predictabile outcomes are signposted by every frame, it doesn't matter because you like these people so you are willing to roll with it. Indeed, the film has much in common with the calypso vibes that pepper the soundtrack; bright, breezy, thoroughly enjoyable while you're sitting through it yet not likely to stick around in your head for long.