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September 23, 2009 > Movie Review: Love Happens

Movie Review: Love Happens

By Heidi Leung


Love happens or does it? If it were up to Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart to demonstrate this, it appears that it doesn't. The film centers on the life of Burke Ryans (Aaron Eckhart), a self-help author whose expertise is overcoming the death of loved ones. Unbeknownst to his fans is that although he is able to teach them how to deal with their sadness, he is unable to deal with his own. His knight in shining armor comes in the form of Eloise (Jennifer Aniston) whose presence forces him to come to terms with what he's spent his life avoiding.

The trailer for the film basically explains the entire synopsis but the attitude of the film isn't nearly as light-hearted as it would appear to be. Love Happens is a depressing and poorly written film disguised as a romantic comedy. Every moment of happiness is immediately foiled by the random surge of depression that just oozes from Burke Ryans. Sure he has a great smile and is fantastic at being charming - perhaps his character is suppose to be that way - but it surely isn't pleasant to watch. He just comes off as awkward when he's not his public persona.

Even worse is the character of Eloise, whose quirkiness and free-spirited attitude is reflected in her physical surroundings but unbelievable coming from Jennifer Aniston. Of all the irritating ways the writers have tried to make her interesting, the most annoying is the fact that she uses a lavender marker to write obscure words behind paintings at the hotel where she provides floral arrangements. Why she does this is never explained; it's just written in the script to force an initial attraction to an otherwise boring woman. Why Jennifer Aniston was chosen to play the part of a "free-spirit" is a complete mystery. She is rigid and uptight despite the fact that she drives a live-action version of the "mystery machine" from Scooby-Doo and does unpredictable things for Burke on their dates.

At this point, both characters are boring, so maybe, just maybe, they have a "bland" connection. Unfortunately, even that is missing. Both Aniston and Eckhart are upstaged not only by co-stars Martin Sheen, Judy Greer, and Dan Fogler, they are also surpassed by a parrot. Yes, a parrot. This is the only part of the film where anything remotely happy happens.

Only a minor portion of Love Happens is about the relationship between Burke and Eloise. Instead, it concentrates on Burke's internal struggle with a predictable lie and an inability to handle his own issues. There is no "love" in Love Happens. Watch this film if you are attracted to extremely slow movies with dull characters, a cute parrot, and depressive hotel room cinematography because your love of these elements will be the only love happening.

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