Of the two, Sliding Doors is invariably the lesser. It tries too hard to be another Four Weddings and a Funeral yet another cosmopolitan London romantic comedy and cast with an eye toward international box-office (with the beautiful swan-necked Gwyneth Paltrow at least conducting a creditable British accent here). Director/screenwriter Peter Howitt writes some occasionally amusing one-liners but the characters are one-dimensional. The depth they are given only comes in terms of catchphrase descriptions Jeanne Tripplehorn is The Bitch; John Hannah is Prince Charming we never even find out what sort of businessman he is; and John Lynch is The Cheating Loser Boyfriend. John Lynchs character is so one-dimensional and he given so little motivation in his cheating and indecision that one cannot help but wonder what it is that two different women see in him.
One finds it hard to swallow the basic premise of Sliding Doors. Screenwriter Peter Howitt asks us to believe that not only whether Gwyneth Paltrow misses the train or not makes the difference between two paths she leads (fair enough) but also the entire difference between whether she leads a successful life or not. One could maybe have bought it if the two pathways were not so categorically black-and-white if she makes the train, she gets Prince Charming, makes a success of herself in business, gets a new sharp image; whereas if she doesnt, she ends up unhappy, stuck in a low-paid job as a waitress and never finds out the truth about her useless, unfaithful boyfriend. It even makes the difference, for goodness sake, whether she gets pregnant to Prince Charming or to the loser boyfriend.
Underneath, Sliding Doors is a bland Yuppie daydream beneath its romantic ambitions, it buys into the fantasy that success in life equates with success in business, a good image and true love; and Hell in life is being caught in a dead-end relationship and a thankless, minimum-wage job in the service industry. Sadly, the film buys into the Cinderella Complex that a womans success and happiness in life is dependent on said success and happiness being delivered to her. What Sliding Doors ends up saying is that success, fulfilment and uncovering the truth about the world are things that only occur by chance happenstance as opposed to being dependent upon ones own decisions and self-determination, and that happiness is a result of external consequence rather than an attitude of mind. Personally, I dont buy it.
Although, Sliding Doors was only a modest success, it did inspire several others ventures into this kind of womans alternate lifestyle fantasy. Others include the tv movie Twice Upon a Time (1998), Twice Upon a Yesterday (1998), Run Lola Run (1998), Me Myself I (1999) and Passion of Mind (2000), and four male versions, The Family Man (2000), Possible Loves (2001), The Butterfly Effect (2004) and Mr. Nobody (2009).
Director Peter Howitt next made the computer thriller Antitrust (2001), which was loosely based on the Microsoft trial, the spy comedy Johnny English (2003), the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction (2004) and the upcoming post-holocaust film Scorched Earth (2017).