RUMOR HAS IT
THUMBS DOWN FILM REVIEW RATING!
One of the main things that helps me rate films is how memorable they are, and with RUMOR HAS IT this became a bit sticky. The conundrum comes from my extreme enjoyment of THE GRADUATE (1967), something that RUMOR HAS IT makes no small claim to being a sort of sequel to.
THE GRADUATE was sexy, funny, ahead of its time, and even explicitly inappropriate. RUMOR HAS IT tries to ratchet up these areas but doesn’t succeed due to poor acting, poor casting (with one exception) and a senseless script.
Jennifer Aniston plays Sarah Huttinger, the granddaughter of Katherine Richelieu (Shirley MacLaine playing the aged Mrs. Robinson/Anne Bancroft), and she soon discovers that the women in her family have a "thing" for Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner playing an middle-aged Benjamin Braddock/Dustin Hoffman). Sarah (Aniston) is engaged to be married but something inside her makes her hesitate before heading to the alter. She doesn’t act or look anything like anyone in her family and she feels that maybe she was adopted. Her mother died years ago and can’t give her any answers, so she goes to see Grandma Katherine (MacLaine) to see if she has any. A pandora’s box of information suddenly gushes forth as Sarah learns her family was the basis for the book and film, The Graduate. She also learns that Beau (Costner) may be her father, since her mother also slept with him right before Sarah’s mother and father were married.
Coming to terms with the fact that Beau isn’t her father is both tough and touching (one of the few truly memorable moments of the movie.)
But RUMOR HAS IT just isn’t that engaging. It’s not nearly as sexy as THE GRADUATE was and it’s not nearly as funny, either. The film makers try to "shock" the audience by having Sarah and Beau sleep together while the true nature of Sarah's paternity remains unclear ("This isn’t The Graduate, this is Deliverance!") But the shock just doesn’t take us where we need to go. It’s not funny, dramatic, or even that interesting.
The one exceptional portion of this movie lay with Shirley MacLaine. Stealing nearly every scene she’s in, MacLaine was the epitome of a damaged woman trying to keep her granddaughter from becoming just as screwed up as she. But even her excellent performance couldn’t save the film ...unfortunately. Costner and Aniston looked out of place and miscast, completely lacking any kind of true chemistry, thus making the entire film unmemorable.