Lady in the Water

Rated 1.0

When an apartment-house manager (Paul Giamatti) accosts a late-night swimmer in the pool (Bryce Dallas Howard), he learns that she’s a sea nymph, or “Narf,” and that she’s running from a “Scrunt,” who in turn is being pursued by “Tartutics.” Actually, the one in the water is no lady; it’s writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, and he’s jumped the shark—his knack for mood and menace can’t make up for a cockamamie story that makes no sense. Based on a bedtime story Shyamalan told his kids, it’s a would-be fairy tale with no emotional resonance, and it plays like a Mad Magazine parody (“If M. Night Shyamalan had written Splash…”). Giamatti, Howard and some good supporting actors do their best, but Shyamalan gives them only silliness to work with. The Sixth Sense is looking more and more like a fluke.