Movie Review: Serendipity

[ SERENDIPITY POSTER ]Serendipity is a romantic comedy starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. The word serendipity, for those who don’t know its meaning, is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Jonathan (guess who) and Sara run into each other during Christmas shopping and both reach for a pair of gloves at the same time. Even though they are both in relationships they go to a nearby restaurant and have ice cream. Jonathan asks for Sara’s number, but she says no and leaves in a taxi. Jonathan then returns to the restaurant as does Sara because they both forgot something. This time they decide to go ice skating and Jonathan finally gets her to exchange phone numbers, but at the same time not really. Sara has Jonathan write his name and phone number on a $5 bill, which she then spends, while she writes hers in the cover of a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. She believes that if it’s meant to be, then the $5 bill will circulate back to her and Jonathan will find the copy of Love in the Time of Cholera and they will find each other again. Personally, I think just saying you’re not interested would have sufficed. Jonathan, like myself, doesn’t like this, so they go into different elevators in a hotel, each carrying a glove from the pair they bought earlier, to see if they both pick the same floor in a hotel with 28 floors. Somehow they both pick 23, even though the probability of that is minute. Then an obnoxious kid jumps onto Jonathan’s elevator and pushes all the buttons. That compounded with more people getting on his elevator slows him down a lot and Sara gives up and gets on an elevator going down seconds before Jon comes out. A couple of years later…wait, what?

None of this would have happened in the first place if Sara would have just given him her phone number like a normal person or if that stupid kid wouldn’t have pushed every button on the elevator or if John would have gotten on another elevator and just told her what had happened. Why is every little thing that happens to Sara fate? I’m guessing if she gets robbed she doesn’t call the cops because fate must have wanted it to happen right? Sara expects everything in her life to go according to plan and if it doesn’t then it gets categorized as a fate occurrence. That’s dumb and makes her cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in my eyes.

The time jump reveals that Jonathan and Sara are engaged to different people but are still thinking about each other because of “random occurrences”, like waitresses named Sara, etc. Why would you get engaged to someone you aren’t 100% in love with, especially when you know that you’re constantly thinking about someone else? It’s irresponsible and it turns their potential spouses’ lives upside down. You would think they would say “I’m just not that into you” or “I’m sorry, but I’m constantly thinking about someone else so I think it’s better if we go our separate ways” or something, but I guess that was too much of an effort. I’m already disgusted with the characters and I’m only a half hour in.

If you’ve been following my blog a while, you probably know my strong disdain for John Cusack. The guy is bland, emotionless and uneventful. He doesn’t do anything exceptional. He’s like a logical processor, so I don’t know why he’s not cast in a robot role or something. In Serendipity, Cusack shows some emotion and even goes so far as to display facial expressions. However, he’s got no brain on him. Everything Jonathan does is guided by his emotions and he never seems to think about anything logically. Instead, actor Jeremy Piven steals the spotlight as Dean Kansky, Jonathan’s best friend. He’s exuberant, brimming with personality, and his humor is addictive. He’s like Jonathan’s living and breathing conscious in the flesh. Had there been more of him, maybe this movie wouldn’t have been so bad.

Kate Beckinsale’s characterization is lackluster and borders divergence. Her internal compass is pointing in too many directions, making her character convoluted.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (42Just Go With ItReal SteelMiracle, Scrooge)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games: Catching FireGangster SquadElfThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlien)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for Serendipity: 43.

This movie’s plot is far too convenient for its abstract characters, leaving it a casserole of unrealistic events, subplots, unnecessary complexity, plot twists every which way, and John Cusack. The only thing keeping me interested was seeing what obnoxious “fate occurrence” they were going to throw in next, and trust me when I say it barely avoided a suckage label.



To elaborate on the plot conveniences:

1) He finds the shopping bag with the glove from that night under his bed a few years after that night. He nor his fiance ever cleaned his bedroom once in all the time they had been there? I’m sorry but whenever I a)start cleaning my room or b) lose something, under my bed is one of the first places I look. The receipt is in the bag by the way with the credit card numbers that she used to purchase it. You think he would have had the brains to look in the bag the second he got home.

2) He bribes a sale associate to give him the address to the credit card account and while acquiring it is allowed into an employees-only warehouse to get it by this same associate.

3) They visit her old apartment and get the artist who used to room with her to give them the address of the placement company which is right next to Serendipity. Who would have thought? Then they find out it has moved and its previous location next to Serendipity is now a bridal shop, something that Jonathan takes as a sign he is supposed to get married to his fiance, Halley (Bridget Moynahan). Wasn’t it fate that caused you to find that shopping bag in the first place? Does fate give contradictory messages? Is fate allowed to change its mind?

4) Sara takes her best friend, Eve (Molly Shannon, who I find obnoxious) to New York with her hoping that she will find Jonathan. They visit the hotel and Eve runs into Halley and it just so happens that they’re old friends. Who would have guessed?

5) The night before their wedding, Halley gives Jonathan a wedding present, a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera, and it’s the same copy that Sara had written in. Now Jonathan thinks it’s a sign to get back with Sara. Fate sure is indecisive.

6) Once they get each other phone numbers, they both go about getting each other’s addresses instead of just calling the phone number they just found! Why wouldn’t you just call the number?!

7) Sara’s on the plane to head back home and she pays for a drink with a $5 bill that she realizes is the one Jonathan wrote on earlier. How convenient!

8) Jonathan calls off his wedding at the last second. Hard to root for a guy who does that.

There are plenty more convenient scenarios but those are the main ones.

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