Serendipity

A romantic comedy about fate — not the nasty noir kind that sticks out its foot and trips you up, but the twinkly-eyed variety that unites soulmates in mysterious ways. Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) meet at the height of the Christmas shopping rush as they grab for the same pair of cashmere gloves. Both have significant others, but...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A romantic comedy about fate — not the nasty noir kind that sticks out its foot and trips you up, but the twinkly-eyed variety that unites soulmates in mysterious ways. Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) meet at the height of the Christmas shopping rush as they grab for the same pair of cashmere gloves. Both have significant others, but they share a friendly cup of coffee at the serendipitously named Serendipity before parting ways. Except that they don't: He's forgotten his scarf, she's forgotten her shopping bag, and they bump into each other again. So they spend some more time together, ice-skating in Central Park, stargazing and gabbing as though they'd known each other in another life. Sara, it ensues, is a great believer in signs. So when Jonathan finally proposes an exchange of numbers, only to have a rogue breeze snatch the scrap of paper bearing hers from his hand, she sees karmic intervention. At her insistence, they take a flyer on fate. Jonathan writes his name and number on a five-dollar bill that Sara disposes of at a newsstand, and she scribbles hers in a novel — Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera — destined for a used bookstore. If they're meant to be together, the appropriate information will make its way into the appropriate hands. If not, c'est la vie. Flash forward a few years: Jonathan is about to marry the 100% personality-free Halley (Bridget Moynahan), while Sara has moved to San Francisco and become engaged to fatuous new-age musician Lars (John Corbett). Nuptials looming, Sara and Jonathan suffer simultaneous spasms of "what might have been," and resolve to make one last effort to find the one who got away. Aided by their respective best friends (Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon), Sara and Jonathan almost meet repeatedly over the course of a few frantic days. But with Jonathan's wedding right around the corner, it seems that fate may have played the not-quite lovers a nasty trick. The trouble with this calculated bit of whimsy (which bears some resemblance to 1997's leaden 'TIL THERE WAS YOU) is that it's conspicuously clever without being especially charming, unless you're so blindly in love with Beckinsale and/or Cusack that anything they do seems adorable. The pace is brisk and the details are carefully arranged, but there's no sparkle — and what's a romance without that?

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: A romantic comedy about fate — not the nasty noir kind that sticks out its foot and trips you up, but the twinkly-eyed variety that unites soulmates in mysterious ways. Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) meet at the height of the Christ… (more)

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