A couple search for each other years after the night they first met, fell in love, and separated, convinced that one day they'd end up together.A couple search for each other years after the night they first met, fell in love, and separated, convinced that one day they'd end up together.A couple search for each other years after the night they first met, fell in love, and separated, convinced that one day they'd end up together.
SERENDIPITY Charms Despite Tempting Fate and Trying Patience With Overuse of Whimsy
The plot premise, in a particularly streamlined nutshell: In holiday-season Manhattan, Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) meet cute and, although they both have Significant Others, they end up spending a charming and romantic evening on the town (including coffee and dessert at the aptly-named Serendipity III restaurant). Despite their obvious chemistry, Sara insists on leaving their future up to fate (she turns out to be a therapist, so you'd think she'd know better, but more on that momentarily), whereupon they get separated in the Waldorf=Astoria. Years later, Sara and Jon are both engaged to other people, but can't stop thinking about one another, so they each take a last stab at finding each other again before their respective nuptials. Knowing what a big John Cusack fan I am, a friend of mine recommended I rent SERENDIPITY. Between a parade of people phoning us and our own busy schedules, however, I had almost as much trouble getting to finally sit down and watch the DVD from start to finish as Jon and Sara did trying to get back together in the film itself! But it was worth the effort: even though I was growling at Sara under my breath for being so stupid as to leave their budding romance up to fate instead of running off with Jon when she had the chance (and was Sara so new to NYC that it never occurred to her that other people might take Jon's elevator in the Waldorf=Astoria during their decisive elevator race? Do fate and common sense have to be mutually exclusive?), I found Cusack and Beckinsale so endearing and so full of romantic chemistry (and they both looked yummy, I might add) that I found myself forgiving a lot and rooting for them to get back together. Marc Klein's script is so chock-full of funny and frustrating near-misses that at times I found SERENDIPITY as suspenseful as a Hitchcock film! :-) NYC and San Francisco locations are used wonderfully (I was pleased to see that although the second floor of Serendipity III as shown in the film was quiet enough for Sara and Jon to hear each other talk, it was still as crowded as it usually is on a holiday week! :-). Cusack and Beckinsale are surrounded by a delightful supporting cast, too, particularly Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon as their respective best friends and the scene-stealing Eugene Levy as an officious, self-serving Bloomingdale's salesman. I also found it refreshing that the filmmakers didn't take the obvious route of making the leads' current Significant Others so horrible that you can't imagine what attracted Our Heroes to these creeps in the first place (that sort of thing always makes me lose respect for both the protagonist *and* the screenwriter). Bridget Moynihan and John Corbett (did the casting directors just stroll on over to the set of SEX AND THE CITY one day and say "Who's free to make a movie?" :-) were appealing enough that I could understand what Cusack and Beckinsale saw in them, yet they were just self-absorbed enough and not-quite-on-our-heroes'-wavelength enough that I didn't feel bad when they got dumped. If romantic whimsy is your bag, give SERENDIPITY a try.
- Feb 8, 2004
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