The story of Serendipity is simple. Two people, John Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale, looking ever so hot), have a chance encounter over a pair of gloves -- with Buck Henry smack dab in the middle. Charmed beyond repair, these two knuckleheads grab a sundae together at a café called Serendipity, talk about that irresponsible thing called fate and the avenues it leads people down, and spend a few hours at the local ice skating rink. But with each of them already involved with other parties, Sara has John write his name and number on a $5 bill and she writes her name and number on a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. Sara declares that if this "thing" -- let's just call it love -- is destined to happen, fate will bring them together in the future.
Years later and on opposite coasts of America, John and Sara -- both engaged but still unsure whether they have found their soul mates -- decide to seek each other out to rest their doubts. What happens then is an enjoyable and often hilarious cat-and-mouse game with the fates - involving such items as mistaken identity, a Graduate homage, John Corbett as a freaky New Age musician, and Eugene Levy as an irate and crazed salesman -- to find out if that "thing" was right after all.
Fortunately, first-time screenwriter Marc Klein has sketched strong, well-rounded, characters to propel a predictable and corny narrative. Coupled with deft directing by Michael Chelsom (director of the very unfunny Town & Country and the very funny Funny Bones) and the use of time-lapse camera work to illustrate the passage of years -- the film comes off with genuine believability and sincerity. Both Piven and Molly Shannon make nice sidekick characters
On the flipside, films such as You've Got Mail, Made in Heaven, and even High Fidelity are the quiet inspirations for the film's main journey at hand. But it's what happens to the unexpecting characters left behind in the romantic wake after John and Sara find happiness this is the most unsettling part of the picture.
This delightful little picture gets even better on DVD, with 15 minutes of deleted/alternate scenes (the first three scenes were reshoots -- the slightly stiffer originals are included here) and a commentary track from Chelsom. Recommended.
Follow her lead.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th October 2001
Box Office USA: $50.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $77.5M
Distributed by: Miramax Films
Production compaines: Tapestry Films, Miramax Films, Simon Fields Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 77 Rotten: 54
IMDB: 6.9 / 10
Director: Peter Chelsom
Screenwriter: Marc Klein
Starring: John Cusack as Jonathan Trager, Kate Beckinsale as Sara Thomas, Jeremy Piven as Dean Kansky, Bridget Moynahan as Halley Buchanan, Eugene Levy as Bloomingdale's Salesman, Lilli Lavine as Bloomingdale's Stock Girl, Michael Guarino Jr. as Customer at Bloomingdale's, Abdul Alshawish as Customer at Bloomingdale's, Stephen Bruce as Host at Serendipity, David Sparrow as Josh's Dad, Ann Talman as Bloomingdale's Saleswoman #1, Crystal Bock as Bloomingdale's Saleswoman #2, Kate Blumberg as Courtney Kansky, Gary Gerbrandt as Josh, Ron Payne as Louis Trager, Marcia Bennett as Mrs. Louis Trager, Molly Shannon as Eve
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