Sam North reviews the new Cusak/Bekinsdale romantic comedy
'This is a wonderful, cute, dryly witty movie that deserves a full house
Kate Beckinsale Sara Jeremy Piven John Cusack Jonathan Molly Shannon
Eugene Levy John Corbett
Director: Peter Chelshom
(Previous movie 'Hear My Song')
John Cusack and
Kate Beckinsdale's romantic comedy Serendipity was pretty much snuck
out on the UK's screens on Boxing Day and unlike the US where there
is a tradition of going to the movies after Christmas, the empty theatres
were a bad sign. In the UK however Boxing Day is hangover recovery time
- family massacre/revenge or swap the gift day and even if my laughter
did echo in the empty theatre, at least I was laughing. If this film
is still there as you read this, grab your coat and hat and head on
down to the Mall for a real treat.
You know how people say, screwball romantic comedy hasn't been good
since Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, well, if they had made Serendipity
it wouldn't have been any funnier and that is paying a compliment. Not
only do you believe that Cusack and Beckinsdale are cute and actually
like each other, but you really want them to get together. Of course
you just know that isn't going to happen. You do know that right?
For those who like
to know what the actual plot is, it's ... well, two people meet who
are already attached, like each other a lot and she makes him write
his name and phone number on a five dollar bill which she promptly spends,
saying trust to fate and serendipity to bring it back to me. If we are
destined to meet...so be it. He is a tad bemused by this and if the
kid hadn't gotten in the lift at the Waldorf....but hey, I'm not going
to spoil this. This is a wonderful, cute, dryly witty movie that deserves
a full house and they are crazy for releasing it on Boxing Day.
Cusack, you will
know from watching him in 'High Fidelity' or 'Being John Malkovitch'
is witty, cynical and great fun to watch. OK he made 'Americas' Sweethearts'
with Julia Roberts which was a success, but generally that is not the
kind of film we like to see him in and he looked really uncomfortable
in the role of a 'movie star'. We expect more of him and to tell the
truth, he has never been better than in 'Grosse Point Blank' playing
the embittered hitman as his high school reunion.
to live down 'Pearl Harbour' and thankfully in Serendipity she is her
normal Brit self and looks a lot more healthy and attractive in this
than Pearl. You can see that she could be very much the leading lady
for a few years to come. Of course they may have to shoot the continuity
person on this film. Kate has annoying spot just below her nose that
is on, then off, then on again. Hey we all get spots, so it's best just
to acknowledge it rather than pretend it isn't there. Oh yes, and ask
John what happened to her leather jacket on the ice. Mere quibbles,
but you know, if they thought it was important enough to show it, why
In the end, who
cares, Serendipity is great. The marketing plan is shit. How they could
have screwed this up so bad I don't know, because there is absolutely
nothing else to see out there.' Lord of the Rings' is so boring it makes
you want to burn the book, 'Mean Machine' looks dire, 51st State
is dire, there is nothing to see and here is this fast, funny, attractive
witty and stylish film and no one is going to see it. Just what are
they thinking of? Maybe they lost their nerve because it was a Brit
Director whose only previous film was Hear My Song, long ago...but then,
it's their money. Go anyway, there are no soldiers in it, no bombs,
it's a tonic for god's sake.
Scenes to watch
out for are the pre-wedding speech, the annoying salesman in Bloomies,
and Lars, otherwise last seen as (John Corbett) the DJ in Northern Exposure.
Niceto see him again even if he is the butt of an elaborate joke.
Cusack should make another movie together, tougher, more cynical with
action, they really look and sound good together on film. Now, grab
the tissues, buy some chocolate, take a friend and go see this movie
or buy the DVD. And yes, it's way better than Sleepless in Seattle,
trust me on this one.
© Sam North 2002
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