A widower whose book about coping with loss turns him into a best-selling self-help guru, falls for the hotel florist where his seminar is given, only to learn that he hasn't yet truly confronted his wife's passing.
A bounty hunter learns that his next target is his ex-wife, a reporter working on a murder cover-up. Soon after their reunion, the always-at-odds duo find themselves on a run-for-their-lives adventure.
Hunky NY lawyer Jeff Daly has 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 success author Beau Burroughs, she insists to get to meet him. Only like her mother and grandmother, she has a one night-stand with Beau, which may well cost her Jeff. Written by
Based on a true rumor, the premise of the movie was set up oh-so perfectly, especially if you're a fan of Mike Nichols' 1967 Dustin Hoffman-Anne Bancroft movie, The Graduate (with its immortal line uttered again in this film). It's pretty creative to have that story and characters intertwined with the narrative of this movie.
In this Jennifer Aniston vehicle (is it always that the wives of more famous husbands get meatier roles when they break up?), she plays an obituary writer (another fashionable job since Jude Law became one in Closer) Sarah Huttinger, who's the fiancée of Jeff Daly (Mark Ruffalo). However, she's commitment phobic and is getting cold feet each time Jeff brings up marriage, and it doesn't help that they're attending her sister's (Mena Suvari), therefore meeting her dad (Richard Jenkins) and other relatives she can't get along with.
But rumor after rumor, and having realize that her deceased mother had gone for a fling before her own marriage, Sarah begins an investigative hunt into those (un)faithful days, and with probing for more information from her grandma Katharine (Shirley MacLaine), she discovers Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), the man whom Dustin Hoffman's Ben was modeled after. So it goes that the writer of The Graduate, Charles Webb, is a close friend of Beau, and the story is based loosely on his dalliances with Katharine. Which also means, as Sarah discovers, that the book and movie, is based on her family! But it gets better (or is it worse?) as Sarah herself falls for Beau and has a one-night stand, bringing to mind all the dirty, sick thoughts of possible incest. The audience gets teased every now and then when you attempt to piece together the possible relationships between the characters, and it gets worse as we go along, until the final revelation at the end. It's amazing too how you become glued to the story, despite its simplicity in its themes.
Which is surprisingly not romantic relationship per se, which got shoved to the sidelines, but that of commitment. It tries to examine what makes people stick to each other, and what it takes to accept, forgive, and find courage to move on. If you're bringing your date to his movie, have the correct mindset - it's not just another simple date movie, but one which sets both of you thinking. It's got some kick in it too, all thanks to references to The Graduate movie.
Lifting this movie is again the veterans of Shirley MacLaine and Richard Jenkins. MacLaine has played the grandma role to two sisters earlier this year in In Her Shoes. However, this is not a simple rehash of the role, as this one's a little more slapstick, a little more Mrs Robinson, a little more caustic in language and character, but a lot lot lesser screen time. Richard Jenkins too plays the familiar father figure who stands by his daughters, ala his dad role in North Country shown earlier. No doubt that their roles are small, but their characters, all powerful.
Kevin Costner seems to be moving to making smaller movies. I won't say that he's excellent in this movie, because it felt like it was a stroll in the park. Having him falling for and romancing a younger woman in Aniston, was similar to his role last year in The Upside of Anger. All eyes though will be on Jennifer Aniston, as her character has certain takes on relationships that cut a little close to her real life split and how she moved on.
It's a movie which you think the trailers had revealed all, but trust me, it delivered a lot more than what the trailers suggested. It's fun, witty, and refreshing to a certain extent. Do give this movie a watch if spoilt for choices from the Oscar contenders amongst the crowded theater schedules.
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