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, and was ultimately the one who implemented the advice he was given incorrectly.
  • Dork Age: It was the first film by Shyamalan to bomb at the box office, yet again attracting even more flak for its Twist Ending.
  • 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. Another was that Shyamalan tried way too hard to antagonize film critics, though the biggest for many was that Shyamalan himself played a character who's not only writing a book on his beliefs that will one day usher in a golden age for mankind, but who will be murdered for it and become a martyr. As a result, people pronounced this his career nadir... until he made The Happening and The Last Airbender, which got even worse reviews.
  • Moe: Obviously Story, a shy, innocent outsider who bonds with one of our heroes in the film.
  • Narm:
    • Did somebody say “NARF!”? The names for the other mystical creatures as well, but especially the scrunt, which becomes especially damaging as it's the movie's Big Bad.
    • 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.
  • So Bad, It's Good
  • Take That, Critics!: One of the most notorious examples in recent memory, which comes off as incredibly bizarre both in-universe and out; of Shyamalan's four biggest films up until this point, critics only disliked one and it only received a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes (bad, but not the worst). Combined with Shyamalan's ego-stroking, it just came off as petty.
  • 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.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Farber the critic. The film goes into great lengths to make him unlikable, but his Designated Villain position and the fact he appears to be the Only Sane Man still makes him quite popular with audiences. The way he's killed by the scrunt, rattling off how things would be working in a conventional movie like his vaunted cinematic knowledge might somehow save him, makes the way the movie treats him seem even more petty.