Serendipity review by Dhyana Kearly
Serendipity tells the tired story of two people who are meant to be together, but due to some really bad decisions, have delayed their inevitable union by several years.
Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) are two strangers who meet at Bloomingdale's during Christmastime over a pair of gloves. The mutual attraction is undeniable even though they are both involved with other people. Sara is determined to let over-rated Fate take the lead on how she should live her life.
Although the pair's initial meeting involves several improbable coincidences, which should be enough to convince any New Ager with a microsmidgen of brain cells, Sara lets Jonathan go on his way without even exchanging phone numbers, much less names.
Before their final parting, Sara writes her name in a copy of `Love in the Time of Cholera' which she sells to a used bookstore and Jonathan writes his name and phone number on a five dollar bill which is put into circulation immediately. All of this is done with the emphasis on the idea that Fate will bring them together if `it's meant to be.'
Bullhockey, I say. Bullhockey. Even though this movie is less than an hour and a half long, it could be cut down by a good thirty minutes and still be only mildly entertaining. But, at least at the lesser length it's more suited for what it was created to be - a T.V. movie.
Serendipity is so busy taking pot shots at worn out New Age ideas that it completely loses any potential for real entertainment. The only thing that carries this film is the character and performance of Jeremy Piven, who played Dean Kansky, Jonathan's best friend.
Dean is supposed to have an ideal marriage which Jonathan can only hope to attain for himself. We are introduced to Dean at the pre-wedding party of Jonathan and his bride-to-be Halley (Bridget Moynahan). Dean is privy to Jonathan's years-long unsuccessful quest to find that copy of `Love in the Time of Cholera.' He is the only person besides Jonathan who knows how much Jonathan and Sara need to get together. But, he's taking the more logical approach and is trying to convince Jonathan to let the past go and get on with his new life with Halley as his wife.
Of course, as all of this is unfolding, Sara is going through an identical situation herself. She is engaged to a New Age musician with an ego as big as all outdoors.
And even though they are so in love, Sara is haunted by memories of that chance meeting with Jonathan oh, so long ago.
The bulk of the film switches back and forth between these two unrequited lovers as they are confronted with the truth of their situations. Eventually they do get together, and we have to assume they live happily ever after. Wow. What a concept.
I'll have to say this movie is probably best suited to young people who have no real relationships under their belt. Those who still suffer from the idea that somewhere out there is that one perfect person whom they are destined to meet, fall hopelessly in love with, to live happily ever after.
All these terribly cliche ideas only lead to a terribly predictable plot. Given the average performances on the parts of the main characters, Serendipity leaves us wishing we'd taken a wrong turn at the ticket counter and gotten into the theater marked Hearts in Atlantis instead.
**** Serendipity is rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality and some language