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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.31%
Worth A Look36.92%
Average: 18.46%
Pretty Bad: 20%
Total Crap: 12.31%

5 reviews, 35 user ratings

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by Greg Muskewitz

"Fate vs. Chance."
3 stars

Here we have a case of destiny vs. chance, with the Peter Chelsom movie huddling in the corner of destiny, standing in opposition to films like Smoking/No Smoking, Run Lola Run (though it had certain arguments both ways), Sliding Doors, etc. Obviously, the opposition is a force to be reckoned with, but Serendipity as the underdog has enough pep to keep it going for a few rounds before it becomes too debilitated to rightfully carry on in defense.

John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale coincidentally reach for the same pair of black Casmir mittens, and thus prompts their serendipitous evening together, dining, ice skating, etc. When she gives him her phone number (ridiculously, she doesn’t write down the area code—anyone from New York understands the importance of that), the scrap of paper is stolen by a gust of wind—something Sara takes as a sign. Her resolution: they both must write their numbers on something that will reenter circulation into the city (the world), and if it was meant to be, the other would find it. So Cusack writes his on a $5 bill, and she puts hers in a book. Several years later, both are about to be wed to different partners, and neither seems to want to give up on fate. Cusack, known for simulating just about every type of romantic possibility over the years has had far more successful, enjoyable and seminal romances than this, but he has the credibility to use the material to his advantage. Beckinsale has grown weaker as an actress since her mainstream induction, particularly with Pearl Harbor, but if you go back to the late Nineties with The Last Days of Disco (under the apt tutelage of Whit Stillman) or Breakdown Palace, you will see just how good she was. One of the negative results that Serendipity carries are the lead characters’ insouciant attitudes towards their possible spouses. Both are quick to dump them in a fit of fortuity and wishful thinking, and we never are given any good reasons as to why they are with who they’re with in the first place (at least at the stage of the relationship they are at). However, with all the searching and inquiring and cheating, ultimately neither character leaves it up to fate—they make it happen themselves. Even though there might be a “helping hand,” I suppose, Jonathan (Cusack) and Sara (Beckinsale) are wholly responsible for all of their own actions, including the ones that get them together at the end. Although it isn’t “chaos personified” like one of the supporting characters suggested, Serendipity is schmaltzy (or more so than it needed to be), and the supporting characters (Molly Shannon and Jeremy Piven) prove to be less support than ordered. As far as reality is concerned in a contrived set up, as for Sara’s boyfriend, who in the hell makes music videos for music like that?; and for the Jonathan camp, do they have unlimited funds that would so easily permit for them to make on-the-spot plans for a roundtrip visit from Manhattan to San Francisco, hours before his wedding?

With Eugene Levy in a dumb, tacked on bit.

Final Verdict: C+.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/28/01 04:13:02
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User Comments

8/19/15 Carol Cute couple in touching film. 5 stars
1/02/15 Catherine H sweet film about fate, destiny, romance 5 stars
1/09/11 JP Awful awful awful 1 stars
4/21/10 Amar V If you leave the 'fate' part, this is an immensely enjoyable film. 4 stars
12/23/08 David This is a fantasy, not to be taken seriously, as such, it works quite well. 4 stars
7/08/06 NS Good romantic comedy! 4 stars
1/09/05 R.W. Welch Fun with fate. Some decent writing. WAL for romantics. 3 stars
9/08/04 Aaron Smith Interesting love story. I liked it. 4 stars
8/23/04 Stevie Y. Cusack & Beckinsale are perfect together. Fun, heartwarming, & well written. 5 stars
7/29/04 Stacy Love It makes me cry every time I watch it 5 stars
10/12/03 laura paterson disappointing that Cusack wasted his talents on this! 3 stars
12/27/02 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng Why fuck with destiny? Where's the faith in that? 1 stars
12/04/02 Jimmy Sweet movie 4 stars
8/03/02 Jim A flake and a flirt jerk around their fiance(e)s while trying to get some 3 stars
7/02/02 Phil M. Aficionado How many coincidences can you put into an hour and half? Always room for one more 3 stars
5/27/02 Phoenix I hate to admit it, but I kinda liked it. Cusack and Beckinsale were great. 4 stars
4/21/02 natasha John Cusack and Jeremy Piven are worth watching 4 stars
3/13/02 James Horton It was a nice pleasant film 4 stars
2/09/02 Veronica Tatterworth Strange, I remember liking it, but've forgotten mostly what it's about. 4 stars
2/01/02 Ashley Corpening John Cusack helps make this highly contrived romantic thriller more watchable 4 stars
12/28/01 Kimberly J. Crady The story was magical. New York needs some magic right now. 5 stars
12/27/01 Julie excellent romance, feel good movie, John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale were wonderful! 5 stars
12/26/01 julie pretty cute, but definitly needed some more screen time of john and kate together 4 stars
11/03/01 Jess loved everything about it! 5 stars
10/30/01 Girl 9 Another cheesy date movie....*gag* 3 stars
10/18/01 cindy Great date film....wonderfully sappy!! 4 stars
10/18/01 Catherine Schneider I hate romance films but loved this one. 4 stars
10/16/01 Bud A no surprises romantic comedy. Great date movie. 4 stars
10/14/01 Dane Clark It's a bad movie.. if you have no soul. 5 stars
10/12/01 Jestyr Def. a great date flick, and all around good movie. 4 stars
10/11/01 ThatGuy High Fidelity minus the Top 5 lists. Jeremy Piven rocks tho. 4 stars
10/08/01 asdfk; Bad camera goofs; Mic in frame; etc. WarmFuzzy Film; Bring Date 4 stars
10/07/01 Arthur Keissel A good date movie. Just lot's of fun to watch. 4 stars
10/02/01 mcf Paper thin plot... don't waste your $10 2 stars
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  05-Oct-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Peter Chelsom

Written by
  Marc Klein

  John Cusack
  Kate Beckinsale
  Jeremy Piven
  Eugene Levy
  Molly Shannon
  Bridget Moynahan

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