CAST

Jennifer Aniston
Kevin Costner
Shirley MacLaine
Mark Ruffalo
Richard Jenkins
Mena Suvari
Chris McDonald
Steve Sandvoss
Kathy Bates
DIRECTED BY

Rob Reiner
PURCHASE

Movie
Soundtrack
Book
Poster
"Life has to be a little nuts sometimes. Otherwise it's just a bunch of Thursdays strung together."
Time: 96 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Official Website
Genre: Comedy/Romance
While the idea for this film is exceedingly clever, the execution of it as a romantic comedy is wildly uneven and at times moderately creepy. The story has Aniston returning home to attend her younger sister’s wedding while in the midst of a full-blown identity crisis. Her patient and loving fiancé, played by Ruffalo, agrees to keep their engagement a secret as to not upstage the upcoming nuptials. What he fails to realize is that Aniston needs to keep silent because she can’t decide whether she’s just settling for a good man rather than marrying the right one. This is a quandary many young woman face and is a great basis for a script, however, the twist in this one is what takes center stage and turns a thoughtful idea into a freak show. Quite by accident Aniston discovers that her family’s love life was the inspiration for “The Graduate.” She is both appalled, realizing that her grandmother (played hysterically by MacClaine) was/is Mrs. Robinson, and dismayed that her mother potentially failed to marry the man of her dreams.

Since her mother is deceased she searches out the lost lover, played by Costner, to find out why they didn’t end up happily ever after. Needless to say, she doesn’t discover much except the fact that a lot of alcohol, emotional turmoil and a sexy, unscrupulous older man don’t mix. Not many women would fail to fall for Costner’s charms, though you’d think the knowledge he’s had sex with both your mother and grandmother would be enough to cool one’s jets…no matter how drunk you were. That they even try to mine jokes from the fact that she thought he might be her father only amps up the yuck factor. As charming and rich as Costner’s character is in the film, it’s hard to believe she would be so easily sucked into his world, especially when she has a man who so clearly loves her waiting at home. That he would fall so hard, so fast after one night with her is equally ridiculous. She may be super cute and sexy, but women like her would not be hard to come by for a handsome millionaire. Granted he was in love with her mother, but that’s more gross than endearing when you really stop to think about it.

Their whole encounter is a mere ploy to force Aniston’s character into making the right – at least according to the script – decision, which we all knew she was going to make from the very beginning. What would have made the journey more enjoyable and interesting is if her choices had equal weight. There’s no way she’s going to end up with a man who’s still in love with her mother, so her entire journey of “self-discovery” lacks any real poignancy or tension, leaving one somewhat tired by the drama of it all. The whole “Graduate” scenario becomes the monkey in the room, something to be talked about and dealt with that has no bearing at all on the actual outcome. Aniston’s fans will be amused enough by her antics to probably enjoy this film. Costner puts out the minimal amount of effort needed to be attractive creating a rather one-note performance. MacClaine tries to steal the show and if she had more screen time she would have. She’s mean, brittle and sarcastic, chewing every piece of scenery in sight. Without her, this would have been a much more dreary experience. RUMOR HAS IT isn’t the worst movie ever made, but it’s hard to flesh out a high concept into a believable, entertaining story and in this instance they missed the mark by a mile.