Friday, September 18, 2009

Love Happens

Stuff Happens in "Love Happens," but not Romantic Love

"Love Happens," but just not in the movie of the same name.
OK, love does happen in this rom-com by first-time writer-director Brandon Camp (with Mike Thompson), but it is not conventional romantic love.
Looking at promotional materials you might think this will be a makeout fest between Jennifer Anniston and Aaron Eckhart. You would be wrong.
The story centers more on Eckhart's character of Dr. Burke Ryan, a psychotherapist who writes a hit book about letting go of grief after the death of a loved one. Burke's tag line is "A-OK!," and he is a walking self-help industry, with the help of his pushy agent/promoter Lane (Dan Fogler).
Burke is poised to hit the next level of international fame, but there is a problem. He is not A-OK and he is deep in denial over the accidental death of his wife three years earlier.
Jennifer Anniston is Eloise Chandler, a perky, single Seattle gal who has found her fulfillment in flowers; no messy, troublesome guys in her life.
Burke can't help notice and be attracted (who wouldn't?) to the comely florist, but she resists by playing deaf.
We leve Eloise for awhile to concentrate on Burke in action: cajoling, insisting, nay demanding that people cheer up and move on with life.
Walter (John Carroll Lynch) is a guy who resists. In the most moving plot thread of the movie, Walter begins to let loose of the massive guilt and sorrow over the death of his 12-year-old son.
Meanwhile Burke and Eloise do finally hook up, but not in a hot and heavy way. Burke still has the matter of the giant 2-by-4 in his eye that prevents him from removing the speck in Eloise's.
To resolve this impasse we must turn to Martin Sheen as Eloise's gruff ex-Marine dad.
Sheen is an old pro, and a tear-jerking denouement is no problema for him.
However, it is left to our imagination to know if "Love Happens" to Burke and Eloise, and by film's end, we don't really care.