Love Happens



Love Happens
Runtime: 110 Minutes
OK for Children

Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston in Universal Pictures’ “Love Happens” (2009).

Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston in Universal Pictures’ “Love Happens” (2009).

Burke (Aaron Eckhart) is a self-help guru who conducts seminars, based on his book A-OK, to help people deal with their grief when they lose a loved one. He gets involved with florist Eloise (Jennifer Aniston). There’s more to Burke than meets the eye but if you blink a couple of times, you will know exactly what it is. Unfortunately, there is less to the “romance” between Burke and Eloise than meets the eye. In fact, there is virtually nothing romantic between them except that they are both beautiful with white teeth and nice smiles.
This is a romance without much romance, although my female guest thought it was right on, romantically. Burke is a papier mâché character whose “mysterious” problem is obvious to anyone with half a brain. Even so, Eckhart does a good job of portraying his character; a guy who is one thing to the world, and yet something completely different under his own skin. As usual, Aniston is right on target as a romantic lead but, in a problem she’s had before, she doesn’t have much with which to work to show off her talent.
One nice thing about this movie is that these people fall in love without falling in bed first. In fact, they do it without kissing, without any physical contact. That is a level of morality that is missing from most modern movies.
This is yet another film that is marred by the writer, Brandon Camp (with Mike Thompson), directing what he wrote. The result is the same as often occurs whenever a writer directs his own script, too many scenes for such a simple story. It’s hard to believe that these guys actually hire editors because a competent editor would see that this needs some serious cuts. But when a writer directs his own script, there is a built in conflict of interest. The writer sits in front of the moviola, or whatever they use today to edit films today, and just marvels at everything he shot and wrote; cutting nothing. This film needed an independent mind to work it over before it was released.
There is a period toward the end concerning the resolution of a B story about contractor Walter (John Carroll Lynch, who gives a terrific performance) marauding through a Home Depot (the film is full of product placements) that caused me to lose contact with it altogether.
The “romance” between Eloise and Burke is hard to comprehend, beyond them just being physically attracted to one another.
While sitting through this, I had plenty of time to contemplate some of the vagaries of life; like comparing Jennifer Aniston with Sandra Bullock. Bullock is apparently happily married but is a woefully inept romantic lead. Aniston is a believable romantic lead but her private life is a string of failed romances. Go figure.

This is a relatively entertaining trifle; not the best romance but not the worst either.

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