Volume 95, Issue 21

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
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A pleasant discovery

Forum show not so funny

Cordury puts vintage style back in Indie

A pleasant discovery

Serendipity is no accident


Starring: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon

Directed by: Peter Chelson

Four stars (out of five)

Gazette File Photo

By Dave Hudakoc
Gazette Writer

Serendipity is the making of pleasant discoveries by accident.

It may only happen once in a lifetime and when it does happen, we may not even realize fate is at work.

The thought of finding the perfect companion is constantly in most peoples' minds, but it can be pushed aside by life's constant obligations, so when he or she comes along, we may be caught off-guard.

Yet the underlying question is not whether you are willing to give it a chance, but whether you are willing to put all your obligations and all you have worked for aside, for one chance at love.

Serendipity, John Cusack's latest romantic-comedy, tells such a story of chasing love guided by fate. Cusack plays Jonathan Trager, an ESPN director whose life is turned upside down when a chance encounter with Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) rapidly develops into love.

Unfortunately, both are in relationships, but by writing their names and numbers on a five-dollar bill, placing it in a book and donating the book to a used book store, they test if their paths should cross again and if their meeting was truly meant to happen.

Cusack's performance is perfect. He successfully portrays the regret every guy has experienced and delivers his lines so smoothly, he could motivate even the shiest guy to forget any and all inhibitions and talk to a gorgeous girl.

Cusack is a veteran of romantic-comedies (Say Anything, America's Sweethearts) and, as usual, he plays the love-struck male with both simplicity and ease.

Kate Beckinsale, best known for her role in Pearl Harbor, portrays the over-analyzing, fate-obsessed Sara Thomas. Despite her character's preoccupation with fate, she comes across as a girl any guy could fall in love.

However, it's not the story of Sara and Jonathan that holds this film together.

The supporting cast, including Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon, play the best friend roles very well. Piven is not only hilarious, but his inspirational conversations with Cusack remind everyone there's a reason for good friends.

Shannon is equally funny, but struggles in dramatic scenes with Beckinsale. She seems out of place during these points, but it doesn't affect the overall story.

Director Peter Chelson's choice of a New York winter is a perfect place to fall in love. The scenery lends Cusack and Beckinsale the perfect setting to captivate the audience.

Another Chelson choice that paid off was the addition of Eugene Levy. His scenes with Cusack and Piven are completely hilarious, allowing the audience to not only enjoy the emotions on screen, but have some good laughs as well.

In movies, love can only be successfully expressed with passion and sincerity. During one scene between Cusack and Piven, Piven's character tells Jonathan: "The Greeks only asked one question when a man dies – did he have passion?"

That's just what you should ask of those making a movie about love. Did they have passion? Everyone in this film certainly did. The combination of passion and comedy in Serendipity makes for a more than pleasant discovery.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001