Love Happens

Love Happens screen capture2 202x300 - Love Happenshappens to be quite dull. I hesitate to call it ‘formulaic’ because sometimes, the ‘romantic drama’ formula really works. In this case, the formula was either missing a few key ingredients or the proportions were off to such a degree that the cake just collapsed in the oven.

Aaron Eckhart plays a widower-turned-motivational speaker named Burke Ryan who travels from city to city, hosting seminars and peddling his book, “A-Okay”, a self-help guide to dealing with loss and grief. Turns out, however, that our smiling, empathetic hero is a hypocrite. He’s never really come to terms with his own feelings of guilt and grief over the loss of his wife in a tragic car accident three years earlier.

During a tour stop in Seattle, Burke bumps into (literally)- and is instantly attracted to- Eloise Chandler (played by Jennifer Aniston), the florist who supplies daily bouquets to the convention hotel. I’m sorry – but Jennifer Aniston as a florist named Eloise never really works for me. I’m just sayin’…

Love Happens has all the makings of a traditional, successful chick flick: two attractive stars, the requisite guy pal and gal pal to cheer on our romantic duo, a premise designed to tug on the heartstrings, miscommunications and misunderstandings that must be resolved before they can find true happiness, yada yada, yada…

But I started to realize about an hour and a half into the movie that I didn’t feel particularly invested in any of these characters, and I hadn’t shed a single tear (despite all the sad stories dredged up in Burke’s overly-contrived group therapy sessions). The waterworks are finally triggered near the very end of the movie, in a pivotal, though even more cliché-ridden scene with Eckhart and Martin Sheen, who plays Burke’s father-in-law. I welled-up on cue, but got over it really quickly.

Bottom line: Eckhart and Aniston are ridiculously attractive individually – but they don’t heat up the screen as a pair. Love Happens is a chick flick you can skip, cause it won’t stick with you at all. I suggest you rent Love Actually instead. It’s got an extra letter in the title, and a whole lot more to love.

2 Comments

  1. Arty Chick, September 24, 2009:

    If Mainstream Chick can’t take it, it must be pretty bad. And how long it this, if you realized an hour and a half in that you weren’t invested in the characters?

  2. Mainstream Chick, September 24, 2009:

    The movie runs 1:49… an okay length if there are ebbs and flows. This one didn’t have ’em. I also don’t think they did themselves any favors setting the movie – about a widower- in Seattle. “Sleepless in Seattle” set a very high bar for a chick flick, about a widower, in Seattle. Now THAT was a good movie that’s stood the test of time.

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