A couple of newlyweds (Washington, Wilson) excited at moving into their first home, are distraught by the anti-social behaviour of their less than Hi-Di-Ho neighbour (Jackson). A truckload of baggage results in his disapproval of their interracial marriage and he goes to great lengths to prove his point.
You don't need to be an Osbourne to know that neighbourhood diplomacy is a delicate issue however it helps if the relevant parties are not a) antagonistic and b) insane. Unfortunately for this couple, Jackson's character is both, plus as a police officer he has the law on his side.
Despite the small budget, urban setting, racism, the LAPD and anger issues, once the surface is scratched, 'Lakeview Terrace' has very little in common with 'Crash'. In Paul Haggis' Oscar winner the characters cared about their families, neighbours, partners and the future. Here no one seems to care much for anyone or anything, besides themselves, especially the married couple.
Jackson’s character's actions result in numerous conflicts between the young couple however there is little love or warmth there to begin with, the film jars in every scene which requires intimacy. Packed full of caricatures and stereotypes, a lack of character development means a large focus on the couple's ethnicity. They rarely look beyond this and neither does the film allow the audience to.
In spite of some dodgy dialogue and direction Jackson is ideally cast as the intimidating neighbour from hell, who provides a number of tense scenes. However it’s difficult to invest in the character and the film following numerous plot hole and coincidences.
'Grey's anatomy's' Chambers provides a moment of light relief as a less than bright boy who quickly earns a 'W' moniker from Jackson.
'In the Company of Men's' director and 'Nurse Betty' writer LaBute has previously proved himself to be one to watch however he slipped en route to the top spot with 'The Wicker Man'. Perhaps he planned to play it safe with this date-night thriller. He isn't alone, it seems everyone was just filling time and the coffers with this one: Wilson waiting to become 'Nite Owl' in Zack Snyder's 'Watchmen', Washington the Eddie Murphy comedy 'A Thousand Words, Chambers taking a breather from 'Grey's' and Jackson has seven other films in the pipeline including 'Iron Man 2'.
The eve of the inauguration of the first African American President in the United States, might be the ideal time for a film touting the race card but 'Lakeview Terrace' isn't it.