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Hunky NY lawyer Jeff Daly finally got engaged to fickle Sarah Huttinger, who presents him to her Pasadena family, who all soon take to him, for her sister's wedding to Scott. But Jeff's clever counting makes Sarah realize her dad Earl isn't her biological father. Once movie clues from family indicate as suspect successful author Beau Burroughs, she insists on meeting him. Only like her mother and grandmother, she has a one night-stand with Beau, which may well cost her Jeff. Written by
How could a film with such an enticing premise and talented cast go so horribly awry?
When I first heard the idea for "Rumor Has It...," I thought what an interesting concept: A newly-engaged young woman, Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston), comes to Pasadena, Calif., for her sister Annie's (Mena Suvari) wedding and realizes her family was the inspiration for Charles Webb's novel, "The Graduate," which Mike Nichols turned into a landmark film in 1967.
In addition to Aniston and Suvari, you toss in Shirley MacLaine (as the potential Mrs. Robinson), Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins, Kathy Bates and, of course, Kevin Costner (as Benjamin Braddock all grown up).
So why does "Rumor Has It..." stink?
Because it just isn't funny. It's flat, tepid, utterly devoid of even the slightest hint of humor.
I've no idea whether this is because writer Ted Griffin was fired as director and Rob Reiner, who hasn't made a good film in ages, was brought in to direct. Honestly, I thought Reiner hit his nadir in 1999 with "The Story of Us." But then he followed that four years later with the execrable "Alex & Emmma." Surely, that was his nadir. Nope. Apparently, he could sink lower and he proves it with "Rumor Has It..." Beau Burroughs is the kind of role Costner should revel in. Yet, he's completely dull. There's no sparkle in Costner's performance, the glint in his eye is gone. Compare this rotten turn with his wonderful performance in "The Upside of Anger" (2005) and you'll realize how brilliant he could have been.
Aniston tries incredibly hard to salvage something out of her lead role. But - and I don't know whether this is Griffin's fault because I've no idea how much of his script wound up in the final cut - poor Sarah gets nothing funny to say and even fewer funny things to do. As far as Reiner seems to be concerned, this is a serious role. The talented Ruffalo gets a thankless role as Sarah's woeful fiancé, Jeff; and Suvari turns up in a role that is completely unnecessary. Why is Anna even in this picture other than to give Sarah a reason to come to Pasadena? MacLaine gives yet another performance we expect from her in a role that she can now play in her sleep. This time it's the boozy, yet no-nonsense, grandmother. Blink and you'll miss Bates.
The film's only believable character is Earl Huttinger, Sarah's dad, played superbly by Jenkins. There doesn't seem anything fake about Jenkins' performance - then again, there never is - and the scene between Earl and Sarah in the kitchen is the film's only highlight. You never doubt for an instant that Earl is a man who deeply loves his children.
It's a shame that "Rumor Has It..." turned into such a fiasco. It only goes to prove that even a bright concept and talented cast can't automatically save a lousy movie.
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