Rumor Has It
May 25, 2006
Since her highly publicized break-up with Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston has wisely kept busy making movies. Alas, they haven’t been that good. Both Derailed (2005) and Rumor Has It (2005) came and went from theatres relatively fast. The latter film was reportedly plagued with production problems that included the original director being fired and Rob (When Harry Met Sally…) Reiner brought in to finish the job.
Sarah Huttinger (Aniston) may or may not be the love child of the scandalous couple that inspired The Graduate (1967). You can be sure that all the dirty laundry will be aired when she returns home to attend her sister Annie’s (Suvari) wedding with her fiancé, Jeff (Ruffalo). Her family is part of an affluent country-club lifestyle that lives in Pasadena, California, except for her grandmother Catherine (MacLaine) who smokes, drinks and doesn’t give a crap what anybody thinks and says exactly what’s on her mind. It’s a role tailor-made for MacLaine who attacks the role with her customary gusto.
Over the course of the weekend, Sarah finds out that her mother had an affair with another man just before she married her father and that she might be a product of that secret tryst. So, Sarah decides to track down the man with the intention of asking if he’s her real father. She finds out that his name is Beau Burroughs (Costner) and he’s currently attending a conference in San Francisco.
The film gets off to a shaky start early on when Sarah and Jeff try to join the mile-high club on the plane ride home. This scene is supposed to be awkward and funny but comes across as uncomfortable and unfunny. A lot of the jokes in this movie fall flat. The cast try their best but no amount of excellent delivery can save this bland screenplay. With the exception of Catherine and Beau, none of the other characters are all that interesting to watch.
There is a certain “eww” factor that probably turned off audiences after they found out that Sarah ends up sleeping with the man who had sex with both her mother and her grandmother while her nice fiancé is at home worried sick about her. Rumor Has It fails to get us involved in Sarah’s plight – she is afraid of being in a loveless marriage like her mother and wants to know how she fits into a family whom she doesn’t resemble in any way. She’s suffering from an identity crisis. However, we don’t really care about what happens to her and that is the kiss of death for this kind of a movie. The film is the negative image of Something’s Gotta Give (2003) with rich, white people who are unlikable. Where the Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson film had loads of charm to spare Rumor Has It is a black hole, sucking any good sentiments into its unfunny vortex.