DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Love Happens

Thursday 11 February 2010

Love Happens

Love Happens (2009) dir. Brandon Camp
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Martin Sheen, Judy Greer

By Alan Bacchus

Somemore Valentine's Day content for you...

Could the writers or producers of this film not think of a better title? Seriously ‘Love Happens’ as a title is as innocuous, non-specific, and dull as its content - a motivational speaker who uses his wife’s death to further his seminars on grieving is given new verve in life when he meets a Jennifer Aniston-type single gal (played by Jennifer Aniston).

The dramatic irony of the core concept is not left to much imagination or intellectual discovery – Aaron Eckhart plays Burke Ryan (a ridiculous character name to start with) who is unable to reconcile his wife’s death, yet he’s a motivational speaker who teaches how to cope with grieving. This solves the screenwriter’s checklist need for contradictions in his character, but it’s so front and centre the irony of Burke not practising what he preaches feels just shamelessly manufactured. And if we didn’t get it, there’s the recurring symbolism of lemons, a bitter fruit which Burke uses for his vodka to taste sweet.

The title perhaps is in reference to Burke’s romance with Aniston which ‘happens’ upon him with ease. In fact, there’s little for Burke to surmount to find love, as it keeps landing right in his lap with very little effort.

Jennifer Aniston as a flaky bohemian florist who drives a Volkswagen and listens to ‘slam poetry’ is bad casting. Of course, she looks gorgeous all the time, perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect body. That’s right she’s flawless, and represents no challenge at all to Burke. A cheque cashing role for Aniston, just hanging around, waiting to show up at the right time to help. If only relationships were that easy.

There’s comes a point in the film when Burke steals his father in law’s parakeet in order to free it which, I think, becomes the epiphany for him that letting go is the answer to his problems. Whatever the reason, it’s as sticky and thick as dried syrup.

Amongst other things one of the annoying threads left hanging is a series of cryptic graffiti wordplay games between the lovers - love letters, or inspirational message left underneath hanged pictures in a hotel room was completely lost on me.

“Love Happens” is a complete disaster and something to stay far far away from.

“Love Happens” is available on DVD from Alliance Films in Canada

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Did it go straight to DVD?