Rumor Has It... (2006) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language, and a drug reference
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Mark Ruffalo, Shirley MacLaine, Mena Suvari, Richard Jenkins, Kathy Bates, Christopher McDonald, Steve Sandvoss, George Hamilton (cameo)
Director: Rob Reiner
Screenplay: Ted Griffin
Review published May 14, 2006
Rumor Has It starts with an interesting concept, enough to at least engage the interest of fans of the 1967 classic The Graduate. It plays out more sitcom than as a rehash of the film that inspired it, so expectations should be tempered to expect nothing more than formula romantic comedy antics. When it works, it works well enough, but it's doubtful that the many hardcore fans of the original Mike Nichols film will out this quasi-sequel next the their copy of The Graduate in their video libraries.
Jennifer Aniston (Derailed, Along Came Polly) stars as Sarah Huttinger, a young New York woman on the verge of marriage to her loving fiancé, Jeff (Ruffalo, Just Like Heaven), but with extreme nervous apprehension. During a trip out to Pasadena, California to see her family, she discovers that her mother and grandmother (MacLaine, In Her Shoes) are rumored to be the real-life women from which Charles Webb drew inspiration for the Robinsons in The Graduate. She also discovers that her mother was pregnant at the time of marriage, and that the man that the Benjamin Braddock character was based on, millionaire Beau Burroughs (Costner, The Upside of Anger), had an affair with her around the time of her conception. Sarah is used to feeling like the black sheep of her family, and there may be a reason, but to find out for sure, she decides to pay Burroughs a visit and find out. After finding out that it couldn't have been him, Sarah winds up sleeping with him, and the ensuing confusing feelings afterward has her wondering just who she is and which path to follow to find happiness in life and love.
Rumor Has It benefits from a solid cast, with performances that do bring to life the characters in a way that, while mostly played for seriousness, allows us to see a broader, more humorous bent to the situations to keep us entertained. It may not be as important or memorable as, say, The Graduate, but as a companion piece curiosity, there is enough ingenuity in the main premise to generate occasional laughs and a sense of irony throughout.
However, underneath the high-concept themes of the film, Rumor Has It remains a routine romantic comedy with serious moments thrown in, and will likely only please viewers considered to be regulars of the genre. If you love rom-coms, and ones starring Jennifer Aniston in particular, you'll find enough here to like for at least one viewing. Others will find that the main premise is like a rumor itself -- it sounds juicy when you first hear it, but the more you know, the less interest it seems to hold.
©2006 Vince Leo