YMMV / Lady in the Water

  • Creator's Pet: Vick, to a T; heck, he’s even played by M. Night Shyamalan himself!
  • Designated Villain: Farber the critic. We’re supposed to dislike him, because what kind of person would be arrogant enough to presume the intention of someone else? He didn’t, though. When Cleveland asked him whom he should seek to fill the various roles in Story’s guard, he expressed it as a hypothetical question and Farber only gave qualities he’d expect each person to have. Cleveland nominated each tenant to a given role himself.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The critic, whom many viewers consider the only likable character in the whole movie. It’s quite ironic, given the effort expended to make him an unlikable jerk.
    • Also Story, but that’s mainly because she’s played by Bryce Dallas Howard, whose performance in M. Night’s previous film, The Village, many critics liked.
    • Anna Ran, Vick’s cheerful, funny sister who warms to Story right away.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: As ludicrous as the rest of the movie is, this is genuine. Vick’s Cookbook is supposed to inspire a Midwesterner with prodigious oratorical gifts to become President of the United States. The film was released to U.S. theaters on July 21, 2006. Two years and change later, guess who was elected to the presidency from relative obscurity in Illinois?
  • Hype Backlash: One of the main reasons Lady caught so much heat was that audiences had started getting tired with Shyamalan’s formulas and Mandatory Twist Endings. The other was that Shyamalan tried way too hard to antagonize film critics. As a result, people pronounced this his career nadir … until he made The Happening and The Last Airbender, which got even worse reviews.
  • Love It or Hate It: To be fair, the movie does have positive reviews (if Amazon has anything to go by) despite being considered by others to be one of M. Night Shyamalan’s weakest films (before The Visit revived his career).
  • Moe: Obviously Story, a shy, innocent outsider who bonds with one of our heroes in the film.
  • Narm:
    • Did somebody say “NARF!”?
    • The kid who predicts the future by interpreting cereal boxes. Though it wasn't much better before that point, when they were reading the future via a crossword puzzle.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Shyamalan, obviously, but also Paul Giamatti, who gives a much more convincing (nominal) lead performance than the plot in which his character finds himself.