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SERENDIPITY

SYNOPSIS:
In New York’s busy Bloomingdale’s in December 1990, two strangers bump into each other at the glove bar; Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) feel an instant attraction, despite having steadies to go home to. They flirt with fate, trying to work out if they really were destined to meet and be together. It seems not, and their lives continue, until several years later, on the eve of their respective weddings, they find their original feelings getting in the way. Does destiny really have their names written in a pair of gloves?


Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Has Miramax gone soft? This is pathetically predictable, soppy and sloppy – and groaningly romantic; but don’t let me put you off if you’re after a confection. Several ladies at the media preview laughed and seemed to enjoy it. (See Louise below, for one.) There are indeed a few fun moments, just not enough to lift the film from it’s ‘been there done that’ routine, even though the two stars work hard at their meager portions. But when you’re dealing with such formulaic material, the least you can do is make the payoff punchy; instead, the climax is the weakest scene in the film, with sloppy continuity and underwhelming performances, flabby direction and misguided script. Some of the early scenes are so laboured they give birth to ennui. Even the usually wonderful Eugene Levy is unrestrained to the point of hamming it up beyond funny. So what hope is there?

Review by Louise Keller:
Call me a romantic, I don't care – Serendipity is totally enchanting. If you loved Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman, French Kiss and other such lightweight romantic comedies, stop reading and rush to see this one. It's a happy, uplifting ball of fluff that is guaranteed to charm your socks off. A fantasy about predestined lovers who discover each other in a tale of two cities (New York and San Francisco), the joy is in the execution and the delightful performances. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are both wonderful: Cusack injects his quirky, dry charm, while Beckinsale speaking in her native English accent is spontaneous and lovely. Yes, there are plenty of coincidences, and there is absolutely no doubt where the story is leading. There are clues and signs, and the two leads spend most of the movie with other people. But we know where it is all leading, after all, this is an unabashed flutter of the hearts with an ending that is… well serendipity. Scene stealer Eugene Levy doesn't waste a single moment of his screen time as the Bloomingdale salesman with the art of salesmanship, while we dip in and out of the worlds of a new age weirdo muso, an eccentric artiste a la française and oddballs from all over. All the cast is excellent and the setting divine: New York wears her best dress and the Central Park ice rink scenes with floating snow flakes is magical. Add the compelling jazzy soundtrack that begins and ends with Satchmo himself, and it's a splendidly, serendipitous sojourn.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SERENDIPITY (PG)
(US)

CAST: John Cusack, Kate Beckingsale, Molly Shannon, Jeremy Piven, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Eugene Levy

DIRECTOR: Peter Chelsom

PRODUCER: Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy

SCRIPT: Marc Klein

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John de Borman BSC

EDITOR: Christopher Greenbury ACE

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Caroline Hanania

MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 17, 2002

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE

VIDEO RELEASE: July 10, 2002
Also available on DVD







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