Rumor Has It

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Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo

Director: Rob Reiner

1967. THE GRADUATE: unforgettable masterpiece about a young lad lured into bed by an older woman. He then falls in love with her daughter, which doesn’t please the mum one bit, but then again she’s only after young meat to satisfy middle age boredom – a good enough reason to make a movie with a lasting statement.

2005. RUMOR HAS IT…: forgettable tale about the real family who supposedly inspired that movie (and the book upon which it is based). Stuffed with senseless, unfunny melodrama, a script screaming for re-writes and neurotic characters who themselves are cliches of cliches; this movie has a promising premise that may as well never have left the drawing board.

Set in 1997 and starring Jennifer Aniston as Sarah Huttinger, a confused damsel in distress who is fixated with finding out the truth about her grandmother, mother, and their shared claim to fame with the one and only Beau Burroughs (or Benjamin Braddock as played by Dustin Hoffman in the original flick). Kevin Costner is The Beau, who relishes the possibility of bedding a third generation of Huttinger (a.k.a. Robinson). Complicating matters is the possibility that Sarah could herself be the spawn of her (dead) mother and Beau’s union, not a good thing if Beau’s intentions are less than pure! To top it off, Sarah has a devout fiance (Mark Ruffalo) who puts up with her dramatic whims as easily as she manages to churn them out. Consistent, meaningful characters – anyone?

If only RUMOR HAS IT… was the funny, interesting follow-up that the original deserves! But this is not the case. The people involved – most of whom could be likeable – are a clear cut of wasted talent. Aniston can only play the frenzied, melodramatic freak that she is given to play, and for what its worth she does her best. Shirley MacLaine does crass, loud, and altogether improper perfectly, but you wish she got a chance to do more. Mena Suvari bounces and screams like a two-dimensional twit. You get the picture.

Commitment phobia, tennis conversation, suburbia and sex with Kevin Costner are the themes mainlining this poor excuse of a film, and they only serve to hammer home the message that director Rob Reiner has once again lost the plot.

Spare yourself the sob-fest of lukewarm sentiments that accompany this dramatic comedy and ditch any favourable rumours. The only good thing to come out of this is the urge to watch the original! And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…

2 out of 6 stars