Love Happens’ … eventually
Alexandra Kilpatrick | Tuesday, October 6, 2009
One would think that a movie with a title like “Love Happens” would be a cliché sappy romantic comedy. And it is, for the most part. But there are multiple dimensions to the story. Unlike the stereotypical chick flick, the movie takes place from the viewpoint of the male lead character Burke Ryan (played by Aaron Eckhart), a so-called self help guru and best-selling author of “A-Okay!” a book about overcoming grief and loss.
But it’s obvious from the film’s start that Burke is not at all a-okay or over his own grief and loss after the death of his wife in a car accident a few years back.
The clichés commence when Burke conducts a bereavement seminar to further the success of his best-seller in Seattle, and falls for a florist named Eloise (Jennifer Aniston). Eloise is providing flowers for his hotel and happens to run into him after discreetly scribbling the word “quidnunc” on the wall, which we quickly discover is part of what makes up her quirky yet endearing personality.
The two inevitably fall for each other, but the way in which their relationship is portrayed is not very convincing or interesting, as there is little to no chemistry between Eckhart and Aniston. The relationship as a whole is not very well developed, as the movie seems to focus more on the character development of Burke, whom Eckhart does not portray very convincingly.
On the other hand, the performances of the supporting actors add much to the quality of the rom-com as a whole. Judy Greer, as always, plays the quintessential best friend and confidante of Eloise, as a fellow underachieving florist named Marty. The ridiculousness of her personality adds well-deserved humor to the otherwise rather maudlin movie. Another outstanding performance comes from the often underappreciated actor John Carroll Lynch, who plays Walter, a contractor from Montana, who reluctantly drives the distance to Seattle for Burke’s self-help seminar after suffering the loss of his 12-year-old son in a tragic accident.
On a good note, one must give the movie props for a stellar soundtrack. Not only does the chick flick include an unexpected live performance by Oakland-based indie rock band Rogue Wave, but the well-crafted soundtrack also includes music by British alternative singer songwriter Badly Drawn Boy, electronic indie pop band The Postal Service and Austin-based instrumental post-rock band Explosions in the Sky.
For the most part, “Love Happens” is a cutesy rom-com chick flick trying way too hard for some reason to cause its target audience to reach the same level of depression as would such tear-jerking Oscar-winning dramas as “Walk the Line” or “Brokeback Mountain,” and surprisingly succeeding to the detriment of many of its viewers. “Love Happens” will not be critically acclaimed any time soon, but if you’re in the mood for a really sad romantic comedy with all the good plot twists of a made-for-TV Hallmark movie, you’re in luck.