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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Serendipity (2001)



Reviews and Comments

It would be easier to sympathize with the romantic leads in Serendipity if they weren't total whackos. The story opens with two people who meet during the Christmas shopping season, like each other, go their separate ways, then meet again, have a great time together, and then...see, that should be the end of the movie right there. But since there wouldn't be a story without complications, and since the plot can't seem to supply complications itself, the characters come up with their own. What if it's not meant to be? asks Kate Beckinsdale's character. She posits that if Fate decrees that they should meet again, they will. So they test Fate. He writes his phone number on a five dollar bill and spends it, and she writes her phone number on the inside cover of a book and sells it to a used bookstore. If either finds the other's phone number, it was Meant To Be. The frightening thing is that these are only two of the ways in which Fate is tempted (with deserving results) and cosmic coincidences direct paths. This might be easier to swallow if the movie had a point to make about the work of Fate. Some of the cosmic coincidences in this movie lead toward one end; others to another.

Cusack's character is intelligent enough not to want to leave things up to chance. Our sympathies are with him, for growing to like such a flake, until years pass and he hasn't figured out that she's out of her gourd, and he's better off without her.

Am I simply too cynical to appreciate what's supposed to be a gooshy romantic comedy? I don't think so. I like romantic comedies. But never mind that Serendipity isn't funny -- it isn't romantic, either. Is it romantic to treat the happiness of yourself and the object of your affection with such carelessness? Even for one who believes in Fate, how many tests must Fate pass before it's ok to be together?