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Nothing Happens

  • Feb 8, 2010
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Admittedly I'd just watched the Superbowl, but unlike that stop-start snooze-fest, here was 2 hours where I actually did understand the rules and the story would have been improved by Bud Light commercials every 5 minutes. If there are two people on the planet with less chemistry that Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, the British monarchy would already have found them. A shockingly poor pair for a cop-buddy movie, let alone a morbidly obsessed quasi-rom-com, it makes you long for the days when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would fallen in love... again.

The Script-o-rama quality plot goes something like: a widower who finds success as a self-help guru, dates a flower shop owner and comes face to face with an inner truth he has been suppressing. If this sounds like a book, that's probably because it's a book. To spice things up, however, the story has been set in Seattle -mostly near the space needle thing, since that's the only part of Seattle that exists in the movies, unless you include Samara's well. In lieu of a plot, the writers have been kind enough to give us corny cliches every 5 minutes or so, and I'd recommend taking a shot every time one rears its head in yet another clunky scene.

Here were my favorite groan-inducing, and yet potentially shot-slamming, moments:
  1. The lead lady is a good-as-gold flower shop owner - a passion of her's to be sure - who's only customer is some crazy old lady who probably pays in coupons from the back of parking tickets.
  2. Her only employee is a idiosyncratic poetry-slamming hipster, who fails at maintaining flowers effectively but exists to provide fortune cookie-quality advice to her.
  3. The hero's dead wife made a last request that "he set her parrot free", barely realizing the irony of the metaphor for his guilt. And the irony that parrots largely like to sit still and would rather imitate a car alarm that go for the this whole freedom gig.
  4. Eckhart's audience of self-help followers respond to his "telling the truth" initially with a slow clap, developing into a standing ovation, and then "I love you, man" rousing support. All while Martin Sheen is clamped around his shoulders like a possessed limpet, bawling his eyes out, and apparently wearing the same jacket as he had in The Departed.
  5. There's a retail therapy scene where everyone shops at Home Depot, in a very poor and distant imitation of the Pretty Woman montage. Buying hardware apparently helps one of the main characters overcome his son's death. And that actor is the scary guy from Fincher's Zodiac Killer.
There are many more, but then there's also some plain nonsense. Such as Aniston's old vintage car that reveals her old-fashioned and solid character values. Or that she graffitis barely-understood words behind pictures, presumably for one lucky man to find, thus enabling our hero to learn more about her by searching for the words (yes, really). Then there's an old lady who makes cookies out of her husband's ashes.

I'm suspecting that this was originally a fairly dark script about dealing with death, then the studio injected a romantic subplot because a major star got involved. Or it was a passable romantic comedy that got toned down due to a test audience screening. Either way, what's left behind is a romantic half-plot that is completely dishonest with itself and a "dealing with grief" lesson that mixes random half-truths with utter phoniness. Add a bunch of underused characters, a parrot, shake and bake, and you're done. The drinking game has potential though.

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April 11, 2010
Much as I think Aniston looks really really hot...I am staying away from this one unless it's on for free. Thanks for the warning!
February 15, 2010
Insightful review--I have to agree! I can't even remember how the film ends. It feels like the romance was added on after the fact.
February 14, 2010
Muahahahaha, hilarious review, James!  I love your list of groan-inducing moments, oh man...
February 14, 2010
It really was scary. :-)
February 08, 2010
I also watched the super bowl and found it to be an interesting game, you did an excellent job on this review.
February 08, 2010
Great review! And yes, terrible movie lacking energy and chemistry. I think Jennifer Aniston needs an international espionage flick asap!
February 08, 2010
Thanks! In some respects, Jennifer Aniston has become a set of facial expressions that were somewhat exhausted on Friends. It's possible that hair commercials may be the only way to go from here.
More Love Happens reviews
review by . February 25, 2010
This film worked as a study in grief. The characters were sensitive, tried real hard, and worked through some heavy stuff. The idea of a bestselling author/speaker running seminars on grief when he had a few not-so-hidden bones rattling around in his closet was very intriguing. And I really liked the way it all played out.       What didn't work for me was the Eloise (Aniston)/Burke (Eckhart) romance aspect. I didn't understand why, in the midst of his struggle/depression, he …
Quick Tip by . February 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
just terrible. I'll sit thru most anything, but we actually had to turn this off it was so bad.
Quick Tip by . December 22, 2009
It's a romantic comedy but it also deals past death. Aniston & Eckhart look great but the chemistry is not so great though. Script is good.
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James Beswick ()
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Love Happens is a 2009 romantic drama film, written and directed by Brandon Camp and starring Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston. It was released on September 18, 2009.

Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart), is a successful Ph.D. and author of a self-help book that gives advice about dealing with the loss of a loved one. He writes the book after his wife dies in a car accident as a way to deal with the grief. While giving a workshop in Seattle, where his wife was from, he meets Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), a woman who works as a florist. It seems, however, that Burke has not been following his own advice, and in fact has not been dealing with the loss of his wife. In the end, he confesses to an audience that he was driving the car, and not his wife, as he previously maintained. Due to this, he blames himself for her death. Eloise, along with his wife's father, (Martin Sheen), help Burke move past his wife's death.
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