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"This is the sort of movie America needs right now," screamed the critic blurb on the advertisement for Serendipity. With all due respect to that New York wag, "phhttbthth." If America ever needs this sort of movie, it will signal the end of intelligent life on these shores.

Why don't we need Serendipity right now?

1. Because movies like The Apartment, When Harry Met Sally, and Return to Me are still easily available on video store shelves.

2. Because the sound of Louie Armstrong playing over a montage of New York scenes is only one of 63 banal cliches this movie inflicts upon its audience.

3. Because though the film is billed as a romantic comedy, it is neither romantic nor a comedy.

4. Because no matter how cute John Cusack might be, there's only so much of his sad-little-puppy-dog look that I can take before I start throwing things at the screen.

5. Because the film hinges on Kate Beckinsale finding a particular $5 bill that John Cusack wrote his phone number on . . . four years before!!!

6. Because director Peter Chelsom has the perverse ability to make Eugene Levy appear humorless and irritating.

7. Because, though the preview gives the conclusion away, the movie insists on giving us a dozen false endings. Is there anyone who's actually doubting whether these two nut-cases will find each other?

8. Because the two characters are so utterly wrong for each other, only a marriage counselor in need of work would hope they'd end up together.

9. Because Jeremy Piven's enjoyable sidekick performance is utterly wasted.

10. Because, speaking of wasted, millions of people are going to spend 85 minutes of their life watching this piece of banality.

11. Because I only laughed twice and one of those was in disgust.

12. Because the film's climactic scene involves Kate Beckinsale walking through Central Park . . . alone . . . at night.

13. Because a film whose ending is foretold should have an enjoyable route to that ending.

14. Because Peter Chelsom's first film was aptly called Treacle.

15. Because the product placements for a certain department store and a certain beverage are revoltingly obvious.

16. Because who would've thought that Keanu Reeves would turn in a better performance this fall than John Cusack.

17. Because my friend Garth warned me that this movie would stink, and I had to hear him say, "I told you so."

18. Because there should be a moratorium on movies that feature a lead character backing out of a wedding at the last minute.

19. Because the Serendipity press packet describes supporting actress Bridget Moynahan thusly: "Moynahan was last seen in Disney's
highly-anticipated feature Coyote Ugly. She starred as a bar maid, who, with her fellow barmaids, tantalize customers and press alike with their sexy and enterprising antics."

20. Because Moynahan is now two for two.

21. Because someone will email me and tell me he thought the movie was cute and I should lighten up a bit, and I will doubt the sanity of the human race.

22. Because I am not making any of this up . . . except for the part about laughing twice. I only laughed once. 

J. Robert Parks 10/2/2001


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