Movie review: ‘Rumor Has It …’ |

Movie review: ‘Rumor Has It …’

Kimberly Nicoletti

Rumor has it that producers of Jennifer Aniston’s new movie relied too heavily on gimmicks.Actually, I’m starting that rumor, but with good reason. “Rumor Has It …” begins with an interesting idea: When Sarah (Aniston) discovers Mrs. Robinson of “The Graduate” may have been based on her family’s experience, she seeks out the real Benjamin Braddock to see if he’s her father.I hoped director Rob Reiner would infuse “Rumor Has It …” with the same kind of wit, chemistry and depth he put into such projects as “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Princess Bride.” But he didn’t.The story line, though clever, remains flat. First of all, Sarah and her fiance, Jeff (Mark Ruffalo), aren’t convincing as lovers, so when another man enters the picture, the dynamic of rooting for true love to prevail never evolves. As a romantic comedy, it’s distant.Though Aniston adds warmth as Sarah, the character herself isn’t particularly compelling. She’s confused about marriage and her identity. Either one of these situations could create plenty of tension, but Sarah’s character doesn’t develop enough. In the end, her revelations are humdrum rather than inspiring.

Sarah’s grandmother seems to be the most intriguing character, but she’s left to a few smoking scenes and cute comments, such as “Let me put on a pot of bourbon.” Still, Shirley MacLaine portrays the sultry older woman fabulously.Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner) ranks second in the most-interesting-character category, but, again, he remains stereotypical – save for an old sports injury.All in all, “Rumor Has It …” plays out much like gossip: It may entertain you for the moment, but overall, it lacks substance.- Kimberly Nicoletti

‘Rumor’ doesn’t have it”Rumor Has It … ” left me feeling like it left something out – and even though it was only 96 minutes long, I don’t think it was footage.It certainly doesn’t want for backstory or concept. “Rumor Has It …” uses “The Graduate” as a starting point. It’s a premise that suggests a slick, self-referential comedy like “The Player” that sends up its source material even while paying tribute to it.But that’s a fine line – maybe a little too fine for “Rumor Has It …” It’s not a sequel per se, since it references “The Graduate” as both a book and a movie. But since it accepts what happened in “The Graduate” as basically true, it’s close enough to serve as a sequel and dull whatever edge ironic distance might have provided.That premise certainly has possibilities: Jennifer Aniston plays Sarah Huttinger, a young woman who deduces Mrs. Robinson of “The Graduate” might be her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine). Some 40 years later, Sarah is trying to make sense of how the script dovetails with her life – and somebody should be making fun of the Pasadena culture that spawned them.

It’s tempting here to say “Rumor Has It …” might have benefitted from a director with a more deft touch, but I can’t think of a pair of hands it would be better off in than Rob Reiner’s.Nor can I say the cast lacks star power, as it includes not only Aniston and MacLaine but Kevin Costner and Mena Suvari. Aniston and Mark Ruffalo are at least plausible as a couple, so it’s hard to blame it on chemistry, either.But while “Rumor Has It …” promises to update a classic movie for this decade and occasionally delivers laugh-out-loud lines, it leaves something out. Maybe it was the Lemonheads covering “Mrs. Robinson.”- Dan Thomas

‘Rumor Has It …’Where: Skyline Cinema, DillonRating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, crude humor and a drug referenceHe says: Two starsShe says: Three stars

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