Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler, John Carroll Lynch, Martin Sheen, Judy Greer
Burke: Funerals are important rituals. They’re not only recognition that a person has died; they’re recognition that a person has lived.
Burke (Eckhart) is a man who has written a book aiming to help people overcome the grief they feel after losing a loved one. The problem is, Burke really hasn’t overcome his own grief after losing his wife. Eloise (Aniston) is the standard romantic interest that just might help him do that.
First of all, I must confess that I sort of like Jennifer Aniston. Even though she basically plays the exact same character in every movie not named The Good Girl, she has a certain something that is appealing about her. Unfortunately, it’s wasted in middling romantic comedies like this.
This is a good looking movie, with some respectable actors in it, and even a couple of truly touching little moments. Unfortunately the good, smaller moments are overshadowed by overly cutesy moments juxtaposed with excessively weepy moments. The big final emotional scene actually had me laughing as though it was something out of a parody of films like this.
You can pretty much go right down the romantic-comedy-drama checklist with this one: sympathetic male lead with a dead wife? check. Self-employed female lead with a string of bad relationships (who knew dating a young musician wouldn’t work out??) but a funny, quirky personality? uh huh. A goofy, portly sidekick for the male lead? indeed. A helpful, even quirkier sidekick (usually either Judy Greer or Bonnie Hunt – Greer in this case) for the female lead, there to push her along towards a happy relationship? yep. Some sort of animal to provide some comedy relief? you know it. A big secret being held by the main character that looms over everything? present. Repeated flashbacks to a car accident? che-…oh…well, that’s not really normal I guess. But the rest apply!
The point is, the movie just seems to be going through the motions. It’s not all that funny, despite the appealing leads, and you know where it’s all going from frame one. In fact, if you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, then you’ve basically seen the entire thing in a much more tolerable version. Plus, there’s even a slow clap in this movie. Yeah, after a big weepy speech, we get a character who looks around, starts to slowly clap, and eventually is joined by everyone in a standing ovation. See? It’s like a self-parody.
If you want to see a better movie about a motivational speaker who needs to get things sorted out in his own life, go watch Up in the Air. It’s funnier, has better characters, and even an actual surprise or two in the story.
Better title too…Love Happens? Come on…
Just hit the dog next time…
10 – 2 for fairly weak characters – 2 for a totally predictable story – .8 for a way over the top weepy ending = 5.2