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RUMOUR HAS IT

SYNOPSIS:
Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston) learns that members of her family were the inspiration for the book and film, The Graduate - and surmises that she just might be the offspring of the liaison. She puts her upcoming marriage to Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) on hold to investigate this shocking revelation and eventually comes to discover that the woman who was the muse for the legendary Anne Bancroft character, Mrs. Robinson, is none other than her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine). She also meets the man who might be her father, Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner).

Review by Louise Keller:
The story's a stretch, but there's something intrinsically likeable about the characters in Rumor Has It, an improbable romantic comedy about life, love and getting laid. Shirley MacLaine gets the best lines as sharp-witted, cynical and world-weary Catherine ('don't call me Grandmother'), who tosses barbs as a gun-slinger shoots to kill. 'You want more out of life? Join the queue, kid,' she tells Jennifer Aniston's unsure-in-love Sarah at the wedding of her ditzy younger sister Annie (Mena Suvari).

This is lightweight material for screenwriter Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven, Matchstick Men), but with the sure touch of director Rob Reiner, somehow all the relationships and misadventures jigsaw their way to a happy ending. The film starts rather badly with an unfunny scene in an airplane toilet, in which both Aniston and Mark Ruffalo look awkward and uncomfortable. But things start to spark when they arrive at their destination, and the glint in MacLaine's eyes tell us we are about to have fun. Fun it is with an amusingly dysfunctional family, and watch out for a delicious cameo by Kathy Bates, too, as a Bloody Mary lover.

The notion that the film, The Graduate, was based on Sarah's family, leads into far-fetched script opportunities, and by the time Sarah wakes up at a seaside villa in San Francisco not knowing where she is, we have been kidnapped by the fantasy. After all, this is the kind of film where the central character can go from jeans to a slinky ball gown in just the blink of an eye. It's thanks to the charisma of Aniston, Ruffalo and Kevin Costner as the smooth-talking vintage charmer (aptly named Beau) that we stay engaged and enjoy the ride.

The characters are flawed, the banter is funny and with its filmic references and pleasing soundtrack, Rumor Has It is a light and bright romantic fantasy with which to escape.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Pithy put downs and barbed wire dialogue from Shirley MacLaine's Grandmother are the best things about this would be rueful fantasy, imagining a backstory and a post story for characters born out of The Graduate. MacLaine has perfected this zippy granny since taking her off the acting shelf for In Her Shoes, if you recall. Rumor Has It (US spelling) is amusing and diverting without any demands on your grey matter, but you have to get past a clunky and dull first half, in which the scenario is established.

MacLaine and the other oldies are the best value, like Kevin Costner as the ageing Romeo who has bedded each generation of Sarah Huttinger's female family members. That's not to devalue Mark Ruffalo who is a constantly engaging actor, nor Jennifer Aniston who has the central role as the tortured, conflicted, self doubting and generally messed up 20 something trying to find herself amidst the rumours she discovers.

To beef up the screenplay, the filmmakers have inserted a subplot of Sarah's sister, Annie (Mena Suvari) betting married at the same time, and introduced a zany off-centre character who was around at the time and knows a few secrets (Cathy Bates in oversize mode).

A few good scenes and a few chuckles reward your patience, there is a dose of 'aw shucks' sentiment and a grain-fed rom-com ending but don't expect the earth to move.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

RUMOR HAS IT (M)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo, Mena Suvari

PRODUCER: Ben Cosgrove, Paula Weinstein

DIRECTOR: Rob Reiner

SCRIPT: Ted Griffin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Deming

EDITOR: Robert Leighton

MUSIC: Marc Shaiman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Thomas E. Sanders

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 5, 2006







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