The title of the new romantic comedy directed by Peter Chelsom (“The Mighty”) has an underlying meaning. Not only does the word serendipity describe the sequence of events that happen during the course of the film, but it also portrays the genuine reaction many members of the audience may have after viewing.
On account of previews, the film can simply be categorized as a “chick flick,” and do not be mistaken, it is. However, 80″s icon John Cusack, has proven once again that he has unbelievable talent. Not only does Cusack continue to have considerably volatile performances (unlike the many other teen actors from this infamous decade whom have in totality vanished from the film industry) in classics such as “High Fidelity” and “Being John Malkovich” he can also save a film with his underrated, subtle genius for comedy. The hilarious chemistry between Cusack and Jeremy Piven (“Very Bad Things,” “Grosse Pointe Blank”) is enough to make the claim that the accidental viewing of “Serendipity” can be quite a fortunate experience, even for those whose cynicism causes them to curse cheesy, unrealistic love flicks and all that they stand for.
The film is set in the early-“90s and opens in a hectic New York City Bloomingdale”s during Christmas season. Two complete strangers, Jonathan (Cusack) and Sara, played by Kate Beckinsale ( “Pearl Harbor”) enter the scene, both with the intent on of purchasing the same pair of black cashmere gloves as a holiday gift. It is blatantly obvious by the way that they are gazing into each other”s eyes, that they are indeed sharing a moment.
While partaking in some coffee talk at a nearby diner, Jonathan learns that this mythical woman whom he is intensely drawn to leaves her life entirely up to destiny. Jonathan is the essence of confusion when he is left at the end of the night with a promise that fate will guide them to each other if it is truly meant to be. This covenant is prompted with the circulation of a book and a $5 bill, complete with contact information. And so the drama continues on and destiny leads the film upon the path of which it is fated to travel.
Sara”s best friend, Eve (Molly Shannon), and Jonathan”s best man (take notice of the inevitable complications here), Dean, played by Piven, provide extremely humorous counterparts to the two lead characters. As previously mentioned, this is especially apparent during the interactions between Dean and Jonathan. Cusack and Piven ultimately rescue the movie from drowning in an undertow of pure sappiness. Now, don”t get me wrong. The plot really is not that bad a bit fantastical, but hell, it”s the movies. However, I find it a necessity to reiterate the fact that the comedic value of John Cusack”s and Jeremy Piven”s performances undoubtedly, make the movie.
Whether you see the film for the quirky dynamics of those two palpable individuals or for the Heather Nova and David Gray songs in the background, you will find that it is quite enjoyable. In fact, you will be experiencing the powers of serendipity, and cracking many a smile in the meantime.