Rumor Has It
This movie is all about
high-concept but what a concept. An unhappy and confused New York
journo (she does weddings and obits for The New York Times) goes back
home to Pasadena for her sister's wedding and finds out the family secret
that her grandmother and mother were the inspirations for the characters of
Mrs. Robinson and Elaine in the book The Graduate. Always
feeling out of place with her family, she decides to track down the man who
inspired Ben Braddock to find out if he might be her father, and instead
falls into an affair with him.
It's a fascinating idea,
done pretty well, but not exactly as good as it could or should be.
Jennifer Aniston plays the
main character in this version Sarah Huttinger, a beautiful
Pasadena-raised woman who seems to have the world by a string. She has
a loving fiancι who is a lawyer (Mark Ruffalo), a doting father (Richard
Jenkins) and a job at the most prestigious newspaper in the world, (though,
granted, a very low-level position.) Yet, somehow, Sarah is
completely, utterly miserable. She considers her career a dead-end.
She has always felt disconnected from her father and sister (her mom died
when she was nine) because she doesn't play tennis, drives fast, votes
Democrat and hates Pasadena making her a complete black sheep. And
while she loves her boyfriend, the idea of marrying him makes her break out
in the cold sweat.
The family secret comes out
when Sarah returns home for her little sister's (Mena Suvari) wedding. (The film takes place in
early 1997 I assume because the characters would all be too old if it
took place in the modern day but it makes the Titanic reference a
bit of clairvoyance on one of the characters' part as that film wouldn't
come out until the end of that year.)
Sarah's hard drinking, hard
smoking, fast talking grandma (Shirley MacLaine) lets it slip at the wedding
that Sarah's mother had cold feet before her wedding too, going to Cabo San
Lucas with another man less than a week before her wedding. Sarah gets
more facts from her mother's best friend (played extremely broadly by the
normally rock-solid Kathy Bates) about a guy her mother had a crush on
before marriage, a high-school-jock-turned-dot-com-millionaire named Beau
Burroughs (Kevin Costner). Sarah becomes certain that there is
validity to the rumor. After all, his initials were B.B., just
like the character's. It must be true.
Sarah becomes obsessed with
the idea that this mysterious man was her real father. When Sarah
finally tracks down Beau, she asks him what happened with her mother and
"You read the book.
You saw the movie. That's pretty much how it was," Burroughs
acknowledges to her. It does make you wonder if Rumor
screenwriter Ted Griffin has read the book, though, because anyone who has
knows that the storyline of the novel was significantly different than the
one that was used in the screenplay of The
This all leads to a series
of misunderstandings and misadventures, not the least of which has Sarah
sleeping with the same guy who has had sex with her mother and grandmother.
This becomes particularly kinky when she realizes the excuse he gave her
that he was not her father may not be completely true. The
complications swirl and cause Sarah to reexamine her life but they also
take the movie's eye off the ball and take it in a totally different
direction than it started out towards.
Rumor Has It is far
from a perfect film, but it sometimes comes down to the simple question; did
you like it or not? The answer for that is a yes. It doesn't
quite live up to its central idea, but it is a light, fun romantic romp,
anchored by some fantastic performances. I may never think of the
movie again after I write about it, but while I was watching it I had fun.
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 27, 2005.