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I Heard a Rumour
Rumour Has It (DVD)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Rumour Has It (DVD)
Advantages: A good premise
Disadvantages: Doesn't live up to its potential.
I loved the premise of this film when I heard it and thought it a great, original twist. The idea is that Charles Webb's novel 'The Graduate', and the subsequent film with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft were actually based on a real Californian family, and that Benjamin Braddock (The Graduate) slept with both mother and daughter. Fortunately the film doesn't try and keep us guessing as to which family it is, although it takes a while for the penny to drop for Jennifer Aniston as ditzy Sarah Huttinger. It is 1997 and Sarah and her secret fiancÚ Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) return to Pasadena for her sister Annie's (Mena Suvari) wedding. Early on we understand that her mother Jocelyn died when the girls were children and they were brought up by their dad Earl (Richard Jenkins) ably assisted by Grandma Katherine Richelieu (Shirley MacLaine). The night before Annie's wedding Katherine reveals to Sarah that her mother run off a week before her wedding and returned after a few days. Realising that she was born just shy on nine months after her parents' wedding Sarah thinks she has guessed as to why she looks different and has different tastes to the rest of her family.
The next day, even though it is hours before Annie's wedding Sarah goes to see her mother's best friend Mitzi (Kathy Bates) to see if she can throw any light onto who the mysterious man her mother ran off with. It is there that she realises that Beau Burroughs is the man who inspired The Graduate's Braddock, as well as the man her mother ran off with and possibly her own father (as well as ahving slept with her Grandma). After the wedding she tracks him down to San Francisco and leaves Jeff to fly home to New York alone. Sarah needs to address the questions she has about her own relationships whilst trying to find out if the charismatic Burroughs (Kevin Costner) could really be her father or just a cad hoping to get another notch in his bedpost.
OK, so the essentials of a good plot are all there, you have a fabulous cast, an experienced director in Rob Reiner but the film just doesn't work on so many levels. The Reiner of classic Late Eighties/Early Nineties films seems to have gone on holiday or given up. Is this really the same man who gave us 'A Few Good Men' and 'When Harry Met Sally'? Sure, there are no loose ends; everything you need to know has been heavy handedly shoved into the movie for you. You don't even need to be familiar with 'The Graduate' as all necessary references have been unsubtly shoe-horned into the story by Ted Griffin who has done better work on 2001's 'Ocean's Eleven'.
The cast are good although it is hard to tell Aniston's portrayal of Sarah Huttinger from Friends' Rachel Greene sometimes. Costner charms and convinces; MacLaine does her piece well, seemingly content with her status as being available for all good grandma roles. Ruffalo baffles me. He is a good looking chap and has charmed and impressed as romantic leads in previous films such as '13 Going on 30' but seems too straight and sensible to convince as a suitable partner for Sarah, and chemistry is lacking. I don't think anyone would have noticed if he had been replaced with a cardboard cut-out and he only really came alive at the end.
For a film that is allegedly a comedy, I laughed only once and I think Mena Suvari's comic timing is responsible for that rather than a witty script. The romance is cheesy and heavy handed and quite frankly the film just does not live up to its potential. The film has a 12 certificate due to sexual references. As my DVD was a rental there were no extras on it, other than the theatrical trailer which I didn't watch (why, when you have the whole film?) but a quick search on the web reveals that there isn't much anyway.
There are no current special offers on this film on the web at the moment, so you will have to shop around for the cheapest price. Personally, I'd recommend waiting until it came on TV.
My main bugbear? If it is 1997, why is it that no-one has a 'Rachel' haircut?
Summary: A weak Rom-Com