Christmas came early for Ocean’s Eleven screenwriter Ted Griffin when, having written and been hired to shoot Rumor Has It…—a pseudo-sequel to The Graduate—star Jennifer Aniston, in an act of unintended generosity, reportedly had him booted from the project. Now helmed by Rob Reiner, this “based on a true rumor” story about the real-life basis for Charles Webb’s novel and Mike Nichols’s film is a rhythm-less, laugh-less mess that mixes the big-screen Bewitched‘s post-modern nonsense with shades of Spanking the Monkey‘s interfamily attractions, resulting in a romantic comedy as clunky and awkward as its leads’ fruitless attempts to join the Mile High Club. Returning home to Pasadena for her sister’s (Mena Suvari) wedding, New Yorker Sarah Huttinger (Aniston) learns that her family is the template for The Graduate (cue Simon and Garfunkel’s coo coo ca-chooing!), a discovery that sends her in search of Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), the real-life Benjamin Braddock who—now in the Internet business, not plastics—seduced both her mom and her Mrs. Robinson grandmother Katharine (Shirley MacLaine) 30 years earlier. Because the date of her conception coincides with her mom’s brief pre-marital affair with Beau, Sarah suspects that Beau might be her biological father, though when she meets him, she promptly gets drunk and screws the stud at his cliffside mansion. Stodgy opponents of incest, however, have nothing to fear, as Beau is actually sterile from a childhood soccer accident, and thus turns out to be not Sarah’s daddy but, instead, just a slutty horndog who can’t resist schtupping every generation of female Huttinger. Or is he? Or, rather, who cares? With Sarah also engaged to marry bland, devoted lawyer Jeff (Mark Ruffalo, seemingly stuck in rom-com boyfriend purgatory), what ensues from her history-repeating-itself dalliance with Mom and Grandma’s ex-lover is lots of hand-wringing and hysterical screaming, all of which is made excruciating by Reiner’s directorial ineptitude, MacLaine’s profane diva routine, and cutie-pie Aniston’s dithering vapidity. “I know you hate me,” Sarah apologetically tells Jeff after realizing that adventurous romance isn’t as desirable as marital stability, “I hate me right now too.” Me, too.
- Warner Bros.
- 96 min
- Rob Reiner
- T.M. Griffin
- Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins, Christopher McDonald, Steve Sandvoss, Mena Suvari, Mike Vogel
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