| October 10, 2001

There is no doubt many of us feel guilty about enjoying certain things in life like going out to eat or catching a flick on Saturday night – things we never thought twice about before September 11th. Maybe enjoying what life has to offer seems self-indulgent right now – heck, I know I’ve thought that. Then I saw Serendipity. No, it’s not an Oscar contender by any stretch, but it might just have the right balance of charm and magic to make you believe it’s okay to laugh and smile again.
I must admit that I’m finding it difficult to write a “typical” review (whatever that means). So instead, here are five reasons why seeing Serendipity might make you feel a little bit better about the world. Watch it with the one you love or your best friend – lucky you if they’re one and the same.
5. Christmas in New York
‘Tis the season. Lights and decorations adorn New York City streets and store fronts. Shoppers are full of Christmas cheer and ice skaters twirl on the rink in Rockefeller Center. Not the typical images we’ve been seeing of NYC, but rather scenes that provide hope and the perfect backdrop for a chance meeting between Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) at the glove counter in Bloomingdales. Sparks fly even though both admit to having significant others waiting for them under the mistletoe back home. But really, don’t you just know when something feels right? Jonathan thinks so and believes he and Sara should make plans to meet again. The romantic Sara (who has already expounded on her destiny theory) decides they should leave it to chance. Serendipity – fortunate accidents – it is a nice thought, isn’t it?
4. Experiencing Serendipity
Fast-forward a few years. Jonathan is marrying Hally (Bridget Moynahan). Sara is marrying Lars (John Corbett – Sex and the City). It’s literally days before their respective weddings and fate (better late than never) decides to throw in a few twists and turns. However, the rest is up to Jonathan and Sara. Was their chance meeting years before just a sweet memory or the real deal?
3. Laughter
Gosh, we need some right now and Serendipity delivers. We know him best as the supportive and understanding Dad in American Pie 1 & 2; SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy is excellent as a Bloomingdale’s salesman plucked by destiny to aid Jonathan in his quest for Sara’s last name and phone number.
2. Tribute To Best Friends
You know you have a true blue friend if he/she would travel to the ends of the earth (or at least the other coast) in order to help you find your soul mate. Jeremy Piven (The Family Man, Grosse Pointe Blank) plays Dean, Jonathan’s best friend. Dean is an obituary writer for The New York Times, happily married, and thinks his buddy is only slightly crazy for holding out hope for an elusive woman he met and fell in love with years before. Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live, Osmosis Jones) is Eve, Sara’s skeptical new-age friend who humors Sara’s final attempt at locating Jonathan. These best buddies comfort their forlorn friends when they need a hug and kick ‘em in the butt when they need a dose of reality – just as best friends should.
1. Have A Little Faith
Yes, it’s a romantic comedy – we know our almost star-crossed lovers will end up together in the end, but how they get there is the fun part. Kudos to Cusack (High Fidelity) and Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor) for taking a sweet, sometimes-predictable script and making us want to come along for the ride.
For anyone who believes that each and every one of us has a soul mate, Serendipity is for you. For the rest of us who are afraid to believe too strongly in anything right now, this flick may restore shaken faith. Serendipity is not the best film of the year, but it might just be the best movie of the moment.

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