Thursday, November 02, 2006


Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Marc Klein
Stars: John Cusak, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon, John Corbett, Eugene Levy
Running time: 90 minutes
Year: 2001


Recipe for a successful romantic comedy: two charming, attractive lead actors; several funny supporting cast members; and one decent reason for the stars to be kept from realizing their love for about an hour and a half. Cook thoroughly and serve warm.

Serendipity has it all. The dish is a tasty, funny, heart-warming tale of romance and destiny, sure to be enjoyed by anyone in the mood for a light dessert.

John Cusak and Kate Beckinsale are engaging, accomplished actors and make the most of their minimal shared screen time to develop chemistry. Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon and Eugene Levy give us some truly funny moments while largely reining in their tendencies to overact.

And finally, an original set-up for the romance: Jonathan Trager (Cusak) and Sara Thomas (Beckinsale) meet by chance, and decide to test whether they're destined for each other by waiting to see whether fate brings them together again. It's Sara's idea really, to write her name and number in a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera and his name and number on a five dollar bill. They cast their beacons into the world to see whether either will find its way to the other person.

Cut to years later. Each is on the verge of marrying someone else, but having a hard time forgetting the other person. They decide to take action, enlisting best friends Dean (Piven) and Eve (Shannon) to help in the search.

Of course, we know it's not fate, but the whim of the filmmaker that determines the outcome, but that's okay. This is a fantasy, and the fun is found in the journey. Just forget that your emotions are being manipulated and go along for the ride, gasping and moaning at the near misses as Jonathan and Sara search for each other.