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Copyright 1999-2001 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

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Bams' review of
Serendipity
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serendipity

Serendipity (2001)
Rated PG-13; running time 85 minutes
Genre: romantic comedy
Seen at: Lowes Star Southfield (Detroit, Michigan)
Official site: http://www.serendipity-themovie.com/
IMDB site: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0240890
Written by: Marc Klein
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Cast: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon, John Corbett, Bridget Moynihan, Eugene Levy

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2001


(click here to skip to this movie's rating)


Once again, I'm apparently bucking the trend: Rotten Tomatoes lists Serendipity as "rotten", according to roughly 60% of its registered reviewers. Say La Vee; I never was much on trends.


The Story (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
By sheer random chance - or was it fate? - Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet in a New York department store; instantly attracted to each other, though they are each involved with other people, Jonathan and Sara coyly try to make a connection. Sara, being a big believer in Fate, doesn't give Jonathan much background on who she is; she offers a test of Fate, and they both fail. Their connection is broken, and they go their separate ways. End of story...or is it?

A few years later, Jonathan is engaged to his girlfriend Halleh (Bridget Moynihan), and Sara is with her boyfriend Lars (John Corbett). But Jonathan and Sara's chance meeting still weighs heavy on both their minds; Jonathan enlists his best friend Dean (Jeremy Piven) to help him find Sara - and Sara does the same with her best friend Eve (Molly Shannon).

But really - what's the chance they'll ever see each other again?


The Upshot
It's been a long time since I came away from a movie feeling so pleased across the board. I was very much taken in by the crisp writing by Marc Klein, director Peter Chelsom's keen eye for time passages and for New York (though having recently come back from San Francisco, I found myself wishing that The City By The Bay had been as lovingly caressed by Chelsom as was NYC), the soundtrack (which I'll probably buy), and especially the acting by the four main players.

Which - for the at least half of that acting group - is a huge compliment, coming from me. John Cusack gives another solid performance; his Jonathan could have easily been Lloyd Dobler's big brother. Likewise, Jeremy Piven's turn as Jonathan's friend Dean is indicative of Piven's long history of providing strong character support in whatever project he's in. Together, Cusack and Piven took a situation that could've been easily played for straight yuks, and endowed it with a humorous but quiet dignity that made me smile.

But it was the fine work by Kate Beckinsale, and especially Molly Shannon, that brought me up short. Beckinsale, because as one half of the dimwitted duo in Brokedown Palace (shoutout to all my AOHell BP review "fans"! uh, end sarcasm.), she completely failed to register in my Good Actress Radar; maybe it was Beckinsale's true Brit voice that made her Sara work for me here, who knows. And Shannon, because her work on Saturday Night Live and its dreadful long-skit movies, gave me the hives. Not so in Serendipity, though; Shannon's understated portrayal of Sara's friend Eve was so convincingly normal that I might have to take back every nasty thing I've said about her right to breathe the same air as me.

Eugene Levy's Anal Salesclerk schtick threatened to take this movie to a place I really didn't want it to go. And the unsurprising ending was just that: unsurprising, though I was grateful that Chelsom and Klein didn't take the totally easy way out by making Halleh and Lars unlikable cretins that Jonathan and Sara just had to dump. In the end, my fortunate accidental discovery of Serendipity was that it made a cool Autumn afternoon a bit more pleasant. And that's good enough for me.


Bammer's Bottom Line
What I liked most about Serendipity was its maturity in the face of an implausible story; these characters were speaking in adult tones, in spite of the ridiculous nature of this movie's concept. The best of the dialogue scripted for them might not be words you or I would use in daily language, but for me, they were words I wish I was clever enough to use. In this, Serendipity was Light Romantic Fare at its best.


SERENDIPITY:

grn

Okay, so Serendipity is an unabashed chick flick. Hey, this Chick has no qualms with admitting to have been charmed outta my socks.

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2001
EMAIL: bams@3blackchicks.com    ICQ: 7760005
http://www.3blackchicks.com/

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More 3BlackChicks...™ review(s) for this week:
(entertainment reviewed week of 10/5/01):
Bams' reviews:
Training Day | Serendipity

Cass' reviews:
Days Of Wine And Roses


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