out of Five
Running time: 96
Watchable comedy, although it never quite fulfils its potential, despite a strong cast and an intriguing premise.
What’s it all about?
Jennifer Aniston stars as Sarah Huttinger, a journalist who’s getting cold feet at the prospect of marrying her boyfriend Jeff (Mark Ruffalo). On a trip home to Pasadena to attend her perky sister’s (Mena Suvari) wedding, Sarah discovers that her grandmother (Shirley Maclaine) was the model for The Graduate’s
Mrs Robinson, meaning that she seduced her late mother’s university boyfriend, Beau (Kevin Costner).
Shocked and appalled, Sarah decides to track Beau down, fearful that he might actually be her father. However, when she finds him, Beau seems set on hitting the triple
and bedding Sarah too, leading to the sort of quasi-incestuous shenanigans that would put EastEnders to shame.
It’s a good thing that Jennifer Aniston is one of Hollywood’s most likeable actresses because her character does some pretty unforgivable things here. Ruffalo, at least, gets to properly shout at her about it before the end, but that’s not really enough.
The supporting cast are superb – Costner somehow manages to be both charming and sleazy at the same time and there’s good work from both Mena Suvari and Richard Jenkins (as Sarah’s father). However, the acting honours are completely stolen by Shirley Maclaine, who seems to be making up for underplaying it in In Her Shoes by turning her performance up to an eleven.
The main problem with the film is that it’s never quite as funny, as clever or as heartwarming as it thinks it is and if any other actress were in the lead (or if the gender roles were reversed) then the audience would be deeply unsympathetic towards Sarah.
In short, this is an intriguing idea that’s never really exploited properly - the result is watchable but also rather bland. Must try harder.
Rumour Has It (12A)