Serendipity (2001)

(In theaters, September 2001) An audience can forgive a lot of stupid stuff if only for two characters to end up together forever. Going to a romantic comedy built around the concept of serendipity, however, looks a lot like an invitation to be indulgent about 90+ minutes of coincidences. And, as a matter of fact, that’s pretty much what happens in Serendipity, another romance spoiled by its trailer, but first and foremost by sheer scriptwriting laziness. The fault certainly isn’t with the actors: Both leads John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale look as adorable as they should. Even the bit-players are surprisingly fun. Heck, even the first half of the film is amusing with its narrow misses, good-natured humor and general dynamism. It’s toward the end that the writer takes the easy way out. Something significant happens out of the blue, without any further explanation. Characters are gleefully forgotten out of the picture. A central romantic dilemma is never solved. Oh, and our two leads meet again in a completely non-climactic fashion. The whole film seems to lead to a big conclusion that deflates before impact. Sure, the two protagonists live happily ever after… but it’s still unsatisfying. And thus Serendipity fails Romance 101.

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