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Rumour Has It
UKScreen Rating:

Rumour Has It – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Apparently, there’s this film out, about a woman who suspects that – shhh – keep this to yourself – the classic 1968 film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was based on her family.
From overhearing conversations and following up her suspicions, Sarah (Aniston) concludes that Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock was based on the present-day internet billionaire Beau Burroughs (Costner) (How about that? The same initials!), who – as it turns out — has enjoyed the pleasure of the company of both Sarah’s mother and grandmother (Maclaine) and doesn’t particularly want to stop there.
All this is, of course, happening while Sarah is having doubts about her own relationship with Mr Perfect, Jeff (Ruffalo) – and it all kicks off as her baby sister (Suvari) is about to get married.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

There’s such a thing in Hollywood as a “high concept” movie – that’s a film that can be described by a simple concept. Alien, for example, was famously pitched as “Jaws in space.” Galaxy Quest could be described as “Three Amigos in space.” So the idea of taking a film as famous as The Graduate and saying “Imagine if it were based on a real family” is in itself, not an uninteresting idea.
But filling it with every cliché in the book – both in terms of characters (eccentric family members and goody-two-shoes boyfriend) and plot (people turning up just at the right time to see exactly what they shouldn’t) – the idea – and more disappointingly, some talented performers – Aniston, Ruffalo and Suvari, in particular – are completely wasted.
Only Costner comes out of the film with any credibility – largely because viewers don’t expect so much from him these days anyway, so his charming lecher comes across as one of the more sympathetic characters and doesn’t feel like too much of a let-down.
But the biggest disappointment of them all is the director Rob Reiner, responsible for arguably the greatest romantic comedy of the past few decades, When Harry Met Sally – as well as films including The American President, A Few Good Men, Misery, The Princess Bride and This Is Spinal Tap.
So what happened here? A poor script. That’s what happened.
And whose fault is that? The producers, who – in perhaps the biggest surprise of this thankless mess – include one of the most adventurous and well-respected film-making partnerships of this generation, Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney.
Rumour has it that this film is worth avoiding like the plague – it’s almost certainly only a rumour, mind you, as I doubt you’ll meet anyone who’s actually seen it.

Opens nationwide on 27th January 2006

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