Starring: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly
Shannon and Eugene Levy.
By: Peter Chelsom
means a happy accident. It's one of those fun words that brings
a quick smile to most faces just on the sheer Dr. Seussness of
its pronunciation. John (John- aging like an expensive wine-Cusack)
and Sara (Kate "twinkle eyes" Beckinsale) are about
to experience their own major truckload of serendipity.
story starts as the two meet over a busy New York Bloomingdale's
counter in the frenzy of holiday shopping. They have a friendly
téte a téte over the last pair of black gloves each
would like to buy...bingo bango...they are having an ice cream
but too bad they are both dating and their hearts committed or
they'd be going rabid Rhesus monkey on each other in a cozy Waldorf
Hotel suite in the next scene. They decide to spend a monogamous
evening giggling and testing their growing emotions in a playful
way...until a snotty whining kinetic child spawn interrupts their
They are separated and spend years apart wondering what might
have, should have happened. Sniff.
and Sara go on with their lives apart, but neither can seem to
forget the other. As their lives are each about to take dramatic
turns (near simultaneous marriages to others) they both start
to wonder about what should have, would have, could have been--
of course with out the other's knowledge. The movie takes a sharp
stupid turn about here...It's seven years or so later and they
are still pining. That's just wrong.
with their best friends (Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon) in tow,
John and Sara try to make a real effort to push the hand of fate.
Each just has to know if they were somehow destined to meet that
first night - were they about to experience kismet when a child's
annoying habits tore them apart? It's all very romantic, at first.
near misses and serendipitous happenings are charming in the beginning.
But these same cute close calls start to grate towards the end
of the film. Enough already the audience telepathically projected
towards the illuminated screen before them. Not one more near
miss for the love of God! Not to mention the movie makers drop
the ball on some scenes in the: Unfathomable Scenes 101 department...tell
me Mr. Screenwriter how does one board a plane with no I.D. for
Molly Shannon, trying to shed her SNL persona, is proving to be
a natural actress. Though her wild energy beams through her eyes
waiting to lunge into a "Super Star" stance-- you can
just tell. Here, she is given practically nadda to sink her teeth
into. Molly plays the generic best friend to Beckinsale's generic
lost soul gal in search of fate. I'd love to see her do an independent
film and really stretch.
Levy, who is adored here at Blunt Review, plays a character
right outta Second City. He's so good at Mr. Rude Generic Man
it's scary. Brilliant man.
Kate Beckinsale is as stiff as she is
beautiful; she needs to loosen up. Such a pretty sublime little
flower, nay, orchid, hope she starts to blossom. When she did
smile and give in to the magic story around her you, she whisked
you off into "Believe In Me" land. But the boys, Cusack
and Piven grab her spotlight each time they share the screen.
Cusack is delightful. He's just getting smoother with each year
that passes; yum-o-rama. Cusack is still on my top five list of
men I'd like to prance around the faux velveteen bedspread with
while the Gross Point Blank soundtrack is bellowing about us as
we experiment with various whipping creams and tart ingredients.
He's a big old slice of Chicago deep-dish pizza with all the crispy
Jeremy Piven, while he doesn't make the eyebrow rise in that ride
'im like a wild -banshee caught- in- a -leg- trap way, is a cutey
all on his own. He stole the film. He's great with Cusack. Their
long real-life friendship
(find Elvis Stories may via
eBay?) shines through all the flickering lights and celluloid.
Kind of like Favreau and Vaughn just connect,
it is that same energy here, and Piven's behind the voltage.
line: Serendipity is certainly no Sleepless in Seattle,
in the romance department with its you're -so- happy-for-them-
you- gotta-cry shindig, but, it's got it's cute moments. Moments
delivered mostly between the on screen chemistry between Cusack
and Piven. Beckinsale was beautiful as always, but needed some
energy. The story is sweet and worth a girl's night out or a date
movie trip. It's no classic but thanks to the cast they milk the
faltering script for all it's worth and make it most palatable.
Sadly, it's the last twenty five minutes of completely unbelievable
scenarios and actions even for romantic fantasy that
ripped the other "star" from Serendipity's rating,
threw it on the ground and jumped around viscously on it till
there was no chance of resuscitation.
Recommendation: Ice cream sundaes for two...