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  • Writer's picturePopEntertainment

Serendipity (A Movie Review)


Starring John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Molly Shannon, Jeremy Piven, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Eugene Levy, Jessica Kelly, Kate Blumberg, Ann Talman, Stephen Bruce, David Sparrow, Ron Payne, Marcia Bennett and Buck Henry.

Screenplay by Marc Klein.

Directed by Peter Chelsom.

Distributed by Miramax Pictures. 91 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Okay, first things first. I loved Serendipity.

I will be the first to say that is a complete fantasy. It has almost no relationship with real life. As much as we'd like to believe that the entire universe will go to such extreme measures to get two people together, it just does not happen that way. To paraphrase Nora Ephron, this isn't a movie about being in love, it's a movie about being in love in the movies.

Do you know what? It doesn't matter. If you give yourself in to the world they offer you then you will love the film, too.

John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are adorable as a couple deigned by destiny (it also helps to erase the memories of these terrific actors' stumbles on their last films, America's Sweethearts and Pearl Harbor.) They meet cute at Bloomingdales one night before Christmas and spend a magical night together. But because of Beckinsale's flaky views on fate, the two leave it up to destiny to determine if they belong together. He signs his name and number on a five-dollar bill, she puts hers in a book and sells it to a used bookstore.

Flash forward a decade, both of them are getting married, he lives in New York, she lives in San Francisco, but they can't help wondering what might have been. Cusack is terrifically funny as an ESPN producer who is in love with another woman but can't forget Beckinsale. Beckinsale is also charming as a psychiatrist having second thoughts about her New Age musician fiancé. (It's nice to see Beckinsale is given the opportunity to use her natural British accent after several films which she used a dead-on American voice.) Jeremy Piven is also hilarious as Cusack's best friend, although Molly Shannon is kind of the weak link here as Beckinsale's girlfriend.

You can quibble about the film, like pointing out that this couple are both engaged to marry other good people who obviously love them (John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan) who they drop flat for just the possibility of someone they met once, almost a decade earlier.

But what's the point?

Serendipity is the type of old-fashioned love-conquers-all story that has just about dried up in Hollywood. I'm glad to see they are back. (10/01)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2001 All rights reserved. Posted: October 5, 2001.


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