Rumor Has It...

What if the premise of The Graduate was true? And what if it happened to somebody in your family? Rumor Has It... begins on this promising note. Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston, Derailed, Along Came Polly) discovers that her mother and her grandmother Katherine Richelieu (Shirley Maclaine, In Her Shoes, Bewitched) were the people that the women in The Graduate were based on. It's too bad that director Rob Reiner (Alex and Emma, The Story of Us) and screenwriter Ted Griffin (Matchstick Men, Ocean's Eleven) take this idea and run it into the ground, smashing it with the typical romantic comedy and taking it absolutely nowhere. Oh, there are some shades of thought in the plot, but overall, Reiner and Griffin just hope that the idea alone is enough, not doing anything to build a worthwhile story around it. This is a romantic comedy, but it's not too funny and really not romantic at all.

Sarah is recently engaged to her longtime boyfriend Jeff Daly (Mark Ruffalo, Just Like Heaven, Collateral), but is not sure she loves him. One big sign is that she wants to keep the engagement secret at her sister Annie's (Mena Suvari, Domino, Beauty Shop) wedding. Sarah and Jeff are in Pasadena for the nuptials. Pasadena breeds a different kind of person. Rumor Has It... pounds this into the viewer's head, repeating it constantly. Sheesh, okay, the first time it was fine, but the characters keep repeating that Pasadena breeds a different type of people. Different from Sarah. All her life, she felt like an outcast because she was so different from her family. So when some errant remarks about a trip her mother took to Mexico right before her marriage sound familiar, it isn't long before Sarah realizes that her mother and grandmother were the inspiration for The Graduate. She believes that Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger, Open Range), may in fact be her father. After all, her father is like so Pasadena.

She tracks Burroughs down, and, without spoiling anything, sleeps with him (it's in all the trailers and commercials). Before anybody begins vomiting, it should be mentioned that he obviously isn't her father. Or is she? Would that be Pasadena of him? There is an inkling of intelligence behind the script; Sarah is going through doubts about her relationship before an impending wedding, something her mother may also have gone through. Whether she realizes it or not, she is going exactly what her mother did. Once she realizes how confused she is, she goes the Katherine, the only person who can understand. Maclaine is nice as the hard-nosed spry grandmother, but why watch her here In Her Shoes has her playing a similar character in a much better movie? Costner is also fun to watch, but his character here is a cleaner, richer version of who he played in The Upside of Anger. As for Aniston, she is treading very close to her Friends persona of adorable yet slightly neurotic. Unfortunately, she becomes a bit annoying. It's up to Richard Jenkins (Fun with Dick and Jane, North Country) to give a last minute speech that is essentially the only moment of true emotion in Rumor Has It.... But then again, he did the same thing in North Country. That's too Pasadena.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, crude humor, and a drug reference.

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