Beckinsdale and Cusack in seasonal romantic comedy ‘Serendipity’

By on November 1, 2001

“Serendipity” is the phenomenon of finding valuable things not sought for. It is also the fitting title to this season’s highly anticipated romantic comedy directed by Peter Chelsom, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.
The two meet amid the Christmas shopping rush while, no surprise, purchasing gifts for their significant others. After their chance meeting over the last pair of black cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale’s, Jonathan Trager (Cusack) persuades Sara Thomas (Beckinsale) to stroll around Manhattan with him.
The night comes to an unfortunate end and the two must part. Captivated with Sara, Jonathan asks for her number despite both already being romantically involved with others. Sara declines, leaving fate to decide if they are truly meant for each other. At which point, Sara writes her number on a book jacket that she promises to sell the next day, while Jonathan writes his number on a five-dollar bill that she uses to purchase candy at a magazine stand.
If the two are meant to be, Sara decides that fate will bring them together.
Years pass and the two never cross paths, yet both hold one another in the back of their mind. Sara relocates to San Francisco becoming a therapist. In one scene she actually dismisses her patient’s belief that there is a force of fate, an obvious excuse for the lost opportunity with Jonathan.
Sara’s cynicism of fate prompts her engagement with Lars Hammond, played by John Corbett from “Sex and the City” fame.
Yet something inside Sara forces her to make one last pilgrimage to New York where she met Jonathan years ago. Accompanied by quirky best friend Eve, “Saturday Night Live’s” Molly Shannon, Sara gives fate one last try.
It must be one small world because guess who is getting married at the same hotel Sara is staying in? Well it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out, nor does it take a brain surgeon to predict the plot of this movie.
If you want reality, why are you really going to see a romantic comedy in the first place? So for all of the cocky critics that denounced this film as “sugarcoated” and “predictable,” I have one thing to say: What’s wrong with that?
Grade: A


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