Rumor Has It


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Rumour Has It
"I could count the intentional chuckles on one hand and still have enough fingers to check my watch."

This is easily one of Rob Reiner's worst movies - a director, whose last good film was The American President (Aaron Sorkin's dry run for his critically lauded The West Wing) back in 1995. It was proof that he could handle characters, comedy and a wonderful romance. He needs solid actors and a good script to pull it all off. Here, he crafts a film that is only a small notch above North, his most nauseating disaster.

Sarah (Jennifer Aniston), a young journalist hears a rumour that her grandmother and mother were the inspirations for The Graduate - the brilliant 1967 movie starring Dustin Hoffman - a classical study of the folly and passion of youth. And casting Shirley MacLaine, as Mrs Robinson - fresh from her newly minted career in In Her Shoes - was a potential masterstroke. The film chronicles Sarah's journey to find out the truth of the rumour and locate the much older Benjamin Braddock.

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Apart from the adorable McLaine, the performances lack spunk and sparkle. Aniston retreats into her Rachel shell, complete with her Friends-style hairdo. Mark Ruffalo, as Sarah's boyfriend, sporting the same effort at charm as he did in Just Like Heaven, looks awkward throughout. Even the usually reliable Kevin Costner fails to make anything interesting with his turn as Beau Burroughs, the software billionaire, and Braddock's older counterpart. It seems that "plastics" weren't the future.

MacLaine adds a touch of human comedy to the proceedings, with her sassy, no-nonsense grandmother. Her scenes alone raise the film by a half star. Her lines crackle and they are so much better than everyone else's that they were either ad-libbed, or she had the clout to get her part rewritten on the day. The always-dependable Kathy Bates is simply wasted in an extended cameo.

To call Rumor Has It a romantic comedy is a misnomer. It is neither romantic, nor is it funny. The look of the movie is excellent, with superior production design and photography wasted on such ineffective claptrap. I could count the intentional chuckles on one hand and still have enough fingers to check my watch. The film inspires unintentional hilarity with lines such as, "I'm not going to say I can't live with you. Because I can live without you... I just don't want to."

It devolves into a melodramatic, overlong slush of stale, lazy filmmaking. Endless coda after coda, cliche into cliche, without hope, or entertainment value. And the Pasadena jokes are unspeakably unfunny.

Rumour has it, Mr Reiner... your movie sucks.

Reviewed on: 27 Jan 2006
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The Graduate - 20 years on? Or boring and uneventful rubbish.
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Sarah Artt *1/2

Director: Rob Reiner

Writer: Ted Griffin

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins, Christopher McDonald, Steve Sandvoss, Mena Suvari, Mike Vogel, Robert Lanza, Trevor Stock

Year: 2005

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

The Graduate