|By Mira Harber
OK - I’ll be
the first to admit it - sometimes I’m just in the mood for a silly, sentimental,
even overtly shlocky romantic film. This is one of those times. For a meaner
review, check another reviewer. I’m telling you up-front that Serendipity
is really good for a rainy Sunday afternoon, or innocuous first date, or
just a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours and bring a smile to your
movie would more aptly be titled Over-the-Top, Unbelieveable Coincidences,
but that would make it something you expect to see on Fox TV.
is a simple boy meets girl, loses her, (well they lose each other), series
of amazing coindences, and they meet years later - but is it too late?
Jon and Sara
(John Cusak and Kate Beckinsale) meet in the pre-Christmas, shopping frenzy
at Bloomingdale’s, NYC. They fight over a pair of black cashmere gloves
(Buck Henry does a very cute cameo during the glove scene). and end up
having hot chocolate & spending a few nice hours together. They are
very attracted to one another, but are both involved in other relationships.
So - no future in this relationship - off they go into their separate lives,
but ‘coincidence’ - she forgot a parcel, he his scarf, they meet again
and rather than simply exchange phone #’s, she insists that if they both
take separate elevators in hotel and get off at the same floor - ‘it’s
fate’, they will be meant to be together. As ‘fate’ would have it, they
do choose the same floor, but a little devil gets on Jon’s elevator and
presses every button from here to eternity and so they miss each other.
Personally, I would have taken that as the biggest symbol, and given up.
But no, two more clues remain - he wrote his name & phone number on
a $5 bill, she her name and number in a used book One Hundred Years of
Solitude (which she is selling to a used bookstore).
If, by some amazing coincidence,
the $5 bill returns to her, or the used book to him, then it is ‘fate’
and they are meant to be together.
their lives have moved forward, each is engaged to be married - he tomorrow,
she next week - time is short. They both wonder “What if”... and consider
that this could be their last chance at finding each other. By a series
of wildly improbable coincidences they narrowly miss each other...or do
If I told you
any more, I’d spoil the ending , you’ll have to see it for yourself.
In all fairness,
let me say that I like the lead actors, I find John Cusack always entertaining
(this role is a departure for him, and maybe that’s why he took it) and
Sara Beckinsale is very cute, if a trifle ditzy. I do think that there
are a lot of coincidences in life that we aren’t always aware of (this
movie is way, way over the top) but that’s kind of the point of it - we
know the premise is dumb, we know that fate will somehow intervene, and
we know there’s going to be a happy ending.
So what? In
times like these (post Sept.11) I think this little film is just what the
doctor ordered. It’s ridiculous and contrived, but over-all it is sweet
and kind, and I don’t think you can say that about much these days.
I know it’s not Shakespeare, but that’s not why I went to see it. I wanted
to see a gentle comedy. Go with your girlfriend/wife/lover - you’ll leave
the theater feeling better about life for having seen Serendipity.