Lakeview Terrace has a manufactured plot.
A strong, successful black man has really gotten this far in life - he's a respected police officer is Los Angeles - with such strong racism toward the white man and African-American that move in next door to him? Feels like a forced plot, and the fact that it's the basis for this drama ought to place it on our "Not Worth Seeing" list, right?
Despite this penchant for pretend provocation from the film's writers, we couldn't help but be mostly engrossed in Lakeview Terrace. The reason? Three words: Samuel L. Jackson.
The man can make a movie about snakes on a plane entertaining because, well, he's Samuel L. Jackson. The actor radiates intensity. He may be at the center of a thriller that simply exploits prejudices in order to create tension... but whatever.
He was at the center of a film before that exploited our fear of snakes on a plane by placing snakes on a place.
Granted, Lakeview Terrace is meant to be taken more seriously than that cult classic. But it needn't be. The film isn't trying to Crash; it won't earn an Academy Award or any in-depth analysis regarding race relations in America.
It will simply earn out gratitude for unleashing Jackson in all his intense glory.