Not much to laugh about or shout about for that matter. After a promising start, Rob Reiner's downbeat romantic comedy about a mixed-up journalist who suspects her late mother's and grandmother's dalliances with the same young man inspired THE GRADUATE grows steadily strange and uncomfortably distasteful. Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston) and her fiance, Jeff (Mark Ruffalo), are headed to Pasadena, Calif., for the wedding of Sarah's helium-headed younger sister (Mena Suvari) and as is always the case whenever Sarah goes home, she's a wreck. It's not just that she feels out of place in Goldwater country and shares nothing in common with her Republican father (Richard Jenkins) and much blonder sister Sarah's mother, Jocelyn, died when Sarah was only 9 but Sarah isn't sure marrying Jeff won't doom her, like her mother, to a loveless marriage and an unfulfilled life. (Sarah writes both wedding announcements and obituaries for the New York Times. Get it?) When Sarah's soused and saucy grandmother, Katherine (Shirley MacLaine), lets slip that Jocelyn ran off to Mexico just a week before her wedding, Sarah fears her mother was even less happy about getting married than she first thought. And when Jocelyn's old friend (a bleached and muumuu'd Kathy Bates) tells Sarah that her mother's final fling was most likely spent with Beau Burroughs, an old flame whose roommate coincidentally wrote the novel The Graduate, Sarah realizes those old rumors about the book being a roman a clef about a certain Pasadena family are true, and that the family in question is her own. So instead of heading back to New York with Jeff, Sarah heads to San Francisco in search of Beau (Kevin Costner) who, according to the book, slept with both Jocelyn and Katherine, to find out whether he might be her real father, before sleeping with him herself. It's when Sarah goes north that the movie really heads south, veering off into dangerous territory rife with accidental incest anxiety. A different director might have made something of this perilously Freudian comedy of errors (screenwriter Ted Griffin, who was originally slated to direct, was unceremoniously dumped just weeks into shooting), but Reiner plays it the only way he knows how: as a lightweight, screwball comedy. MacLaine once again hauls out the profanity-peppered, salty-older-broad shtick she's been wearing out since TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, and while Aniston and Ruffalo share an undeniable chemistry and the movie's best moments, Aniston's careworn face and nervous hand movements suggest she's having the least fun of anyone.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Not much to laugh about or shout about for that matter. After a promising start, Rob Reiner's downbeat romantic comedy about a mixed-up journalist who suspects her late mother's and grandmother's dalliances with the same young man inspired THE GRADU… (more)