"Love Happens" DVD, Blu-ray Review (2010)

2/10/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Review (2010)

"Love Happens"

Directed by Brandon Camp, Written by Camp and Mike Thompson, 119 Minutes, rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Aaron Eckhart is one of the few actors out there whose charm is so irresistable that his films are better for it. He even managed to make a cigarette spokesman likeable in "Thank You for Smoking." He's like George Clooney in that way. Unfortunately, unlike Clooney, a film cannot succeed solely due to Eckhart's charm. "Love Happens" is one film Eckhart simply couldn't save.

The film follows Eckhart as Burke Ryan, a widower, therapist and grief counselor who pushes the self-help schlock his wife's untimely death inspired. The film makes its first (and far from its last) mistake by actually conveying these self-help type books and seminars as legitimate healers. Ryan spouts out inspirational pap that people have heard a hundred times before (he seriously uses the "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade" line) and the film portrays this as heroic and life-altering. There's one character played by John Carrol Lynch that actually says what most of the audience is thinking--how is walking across hot coal going to eliminate his pain and guilt? It won't. But soon even Lynch comes around to Ryan and the film's shameless sentimentalism.

Ryan meets Eloise (Jennifer Aniston) at the hotel where he's holding one of his conventions. She's a florist who is just getting out of a bad relationship. At first she's not ready for someone else, but she eventually warms up to Ryan's charm and the two go out. Her mom loves him because she's read his book. But Ryan is still having a hard time getting over his wife's death, and we begin wondering if her death happened the way he's been conveying it in his book and speeches, especially when his former father-in-law (Martin Sheen) approaches him and calls him a liar and a hypocrite.

So the film quite generally is about a man who lives for motivation but can't be motivated himself. He tells people to take steps forward and get over their losses, yet he can't get over the loss of his wife. I suppose that it's ironic means it's supposed to be a profound statement or something. I don't buy it.

For a first-time director, Brandon Camp does a decent job. The film looks just fine, but it's almost boring how routine his visuals are, especially when accompanying such a routine and dull plot.

As I noted previously, Eckhart is faultlessly charming, but it's getting tiring seeing him continue playing the same kind of character over and over again when stuff like "In the Company of Men" and "The Dark Knight" show he can have a much darker side. Aniston, who has yet to impress since her spectacular performance in "The Good Girl," continues her run of mediocrity here. She's fine, just nothing notable. John Carrol Lynch gives a typically great bit-performance that, as usual, makes me wish he'd get bigger roles.

Basically, "Love Happens" is the antithesis of notable. Its plot is by-the-book, its characters lack character, and the writing is uninspired. Everyone involved can do better. This is just a bland and lifeless piece of work.

Grade: D

View the movie trailer for "Love Happens" below. What are your thoughts?

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  1. One Source Talent said...

    I have to agree. Aaron is a great actor and kept the film alive. I was a bit disappointed, but I did like it enough to see it through to the end. I think the story is what lacked, not so much the acting. You can only do with what your given. I'd say take a look at it if you have nothing to do, but it wasn't amazing.