What?! Sarah is in the middle of a crisis regarding her career, relationship, and alienation from her family. When it’s inadvertently revealed that her mother may have briefly run off with another man prior to her marrying her father, Sarah seeks out this man, Beau, for some answers. Will she find the answers she seeks? Find out in… Rumor Has It…!
Why?! Sarah is seeking answers, plain and simple. She doesn’t connect with her tennis-playing, slow-driving, Pasadena-living family and this alienation drives a deep dissatisfaction with her job and relationship with her fiance Jeff (played by Mark Ruffalo, who was actually great). It seems like answering a simple question will solve all these problems: how does she fit in with her family?… and you know what? It does. Once she figures it out she basically does a 180 and loves everything (even though her job does sound like shit).
How?! Now to the meat of the whole thing. While the basic synopsis and motivation of Sarah stand on their own as the basis of a film, the plot relies heavily on the idea that the characters are the inspiration for the 1963 book The Graduate. Sarah’s grandmother is supposed to be Mrs. Robinson and her mother, like in the book, ran off with a aimless young man prior to her wedding (but unlike the book, ran back and married Sarah’s father). It is bizarre. Anyway, when Sarah finds this out while attending her sister’s wedding she thinks that perhaps Beau is her real father. It would explain the alienation she had from her family and perhaps give her a path in life that she didn’t have before. That turns out to not be true as Beau can’t have children of his own. Oh well, better have sex with the guy I thought was my father a second ago! This, of course, also doesn’t solve her existential crisis and she runs back to her family in Pasadena. Only there, amongst those she thought she was so different from, does she realize what she needs most in life: her fiance Jeff. The one person who seems to be able to put up with her bullshit. Racing back to NYC she MonoSklogs her way to his heart and wins the day.
Who?! Not a huge amount going on in the Who category. In fact if you watch the film it’s pretty interesting how many scenes are just the two main actors dialoguing in isolation. We do get a cameo in the film by none other than BMT regular Kathy Bates. She shows up as crazy “Aunt” Mitsy who helps Aniston figure out who Beau is. She only appears in one scene and went uncredited for the film (presumably as a favor to Rob Reiner, but that’s pure speculation). She basically just gets drunk and explains stuff to us. Classic Bates.
Where?! Pretty good settings film. Opens with Sarah and Jeff flying from New York to the primary setting in Pasadena. We get numerous sights and sounds of LA, jokes directed at Pasadena, and long discussions lamenting the loss of the Rams to St. Louis (hilarious in retrospect). Sarah then flies to San Fran, over to Napa, and back to Pasadena only the finish the film in New York. Sometimes it’s amazing just how specific they get with this shit. B+.
When?! Ah, the crown jewel of Rumor Has It… As mentioned in the preview, this film is a period piece. Presumably because of the ages of the characters in reference to the book The Graduate, they needed to set this film in 1997. This is clear by the conspicuous VHS tapes and pay/car phones being used. Fortunately, we also get an exact date. When Sarah first goes to confront Beau about her mother’s affair she does so at a tech conference in San Francisco. As she walks in we see a sign for the conference letting us know that it is January 18, 1997. A truly unexpected A-. Exact date that plays a minor role in the plot.
Those are all the details of a decidedly bizarre film, let’s find out if it was BMT weird.
‘Ello everyone! Rumor Has It …? More like Bummer Isn’t It …? Zing. Making a pseudo-sequel to quite literally one of the greatest films of all time as a lightweight farce starring Jennifer Aniston? What could have gone wrong?! Let’s get into it before I type more questions marks!
- The Good – Ruffalo and Jenkins. Some of the side actors. The settings were beautiful and you can kind of see why Reiner was a likely emergency director when the screenwriter had to drop out (or was fired …) because it looks polished as well. At times I felt like I could watch Aniston and Costner just live their fake lives for hours (kind of like This if s 40), although that feeling was hardly sustained.
- The Bad – Make a pseudo-sequel to a beloved film is a bad idea on its face. It just begs a comparison that can never be lived up to. The legnths they go to to hammer in the timeline and make everything work is exhausting (There is about 40 different ages and dates spewed out all to make the ages of the main players make sense, it is distracting). No pay off.
- The BMT – The legacy of this film will be that it is totally colored and overshadowed by a predecessor. And they did it intentionally! I would never watch this one again though, and I couldn’t even really recommend it. It is only fascinating as a one-two punch with The Graduate with a heavy dose of morbid curiosity. With that I deem it a in the bottom 10% of bad movies, below where we expect to be with a solid choice.
I’m going to report a bit on some Homework Sklog-signment. That’s right, I re-watched the Graduate literally hours before consuming this film. First, an amazing film. Mainly the writing, and a pretty incredible performance by Hoffman in the lead (although Nichols directing was also breathtaking as well). Second, I’m glad I did it because the movie is heavily referenced in Rumor Has It … (including pointing out the fact that it is Dreyfuss’ first film, something I missed. Look at Rumor Has It …, a regular IMDb fact page over here). Third, it makes Rumor Has It … look desperate and like a big piece of shit in comparison. Thanks The Graduate! I guess if anything Rumor Has It … might make you revisit a great film. Also, and you might have noticed over the years that I love ellipses, but this might be the most ellipses I’ve ever written in an email … thanks Rumor Has it … … thanks.