For some reason, Thumper’s words of wisdom from Bambi are echoing in my head as I start writing this review: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” (Of course, if critics actually operated by that maxim, this job wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.)
The only nice thing I can bring myself to say about Rumor Has It… is that Shirley MacLaine is a fantastic actress, enough to steal every scene that she was in and shift the movie from utterly dull to barely tolerable.
Other than that, avoid this movie at all costs. I don’t care if you’re a fan of Jennifer Aniston or you think it looks cute, or you really don’t care as long as it’s entertaining and has a happy ending. You can get that fix elsewhere with a considerably better movie.
“Based on a true rumor,” as the opening credits say, Rumor Has It… is about Sarah (Jennifer Aniston), who’s traveling to Pasadena for her younger sister’s wedding and having cold feet about announcing her engagement to Jeff (Mark Ruffalo). While there, her grandmother Katherine (Shirley MacLaine) lets slip that Sarah’s mother took off with an old classmate, Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), a week before her wedding to Sarah’s father.
It turns out that Sarah’s family is the one long-rumored to be the basis for the book and movie The Graduate, and Sarah sets about searching for Beau in hopes of learning more about her mother and her past.
Rumor Has It… looked cute and innocuous enough, like a simple romantic comedy. Normally you can get at least a semblance of something entertaining out of those movies. However, they attempt to make it more of a search for family secrets, one woman’s quest to find out where she really belongs.
If only it were as interesting as it sounds. Sadly, between the one-note characters and pathetic excuse for a plot, Rumor Has It… doesn’t even manage to limp along its runtime. It sort of oozes, like a cinematic slug. And it’s about as much fun to watch.
The only time the movie gets any sort of energy is when Shirley MacLaine glides onto the screen, effortlessly snatching our attention away from her younger costars with a cocked eyebrow or a sly smirk. She doesn’t even need to say anything. She is by far the high point, but that ain’t saying much.
And this is the second time this year when MacLaine’s mere presence has saved a movie from being a complete waste of my time. (See Bewitched.)
There is absolutely no reason for us to care about the characters, especially Jennifer Aniston’s Sarah, and at points I don’t think those involved were even trying to build sympathy for her. She makes so many mistakes with her fiancé and doesn’t redeem herself, but for some reason, he still forgives her. It’s utterly implausible, and since this stupid reconciliation happens after Shirley MacLaine has exited the movie, any reason we had for sitting through it is long gone.
The worst crime that a movie can commit is being boring, and that’s exactly what Rumor Has It… is. It doesn’t even fulfill the most basic role that a movie should, which is to be entertaining. At this time of year, there are so many more movies worth your time and money. Just don’t go to this one.
From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies. This is one of the reviews I originally wrote during that time.