We spent New Year's Eve watching a fairly mindless thrill ride of a movie, TWISTER, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as "tornado chasers."
The movie consists of Hunt and Paxton madly driving from one tornado to the next, as they attempt to deploy a new tornado measuring machine into the center of a tornado. The viewer thus careens from one exciting tornado set piece to another, all in the space of a single day. Before the movie is done our hero and heroine have close encounters with everything from flying cows to flying tanker trucks, as the viewer repeatedly exclaims "Are they nuts?!"
Hunt and Paxton's characters are on the brink of a divorce, and Paxton improbably drags his fiancee (Jami Gertz) along for a couple of close encounters with the tornados, until she's had her fill of near-death experiences. (She might have been the only sane character in the movie...) Mick Martin and Marsha Porter suggest in their DVD & VIDEO GUIDE that TWISTER is a reworking of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, which upon reflection is a fairly apt comparison.
The film is shallow in terms of characters and relationships, but entertaining enough -- thanks to the tornado sequences -- to sustain viewer interest.
TWISTER is 113 minutes long and is available on DVD.