29 May 2006 | zetes
Great concept, great acting - so why does it turn out so weak?
This is the kind of movie that just pisses me off to no end because it has so much potential, but somehow it comes off as exceedingly mediocre. Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who discovers her family was the model for the novel and film The Graduate. She never saw how she fit in with her family, so she wonders if maybe the model for Benjamin, a rich man named Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner), is her real father. She's wrong, but in the process of this discovery, she ends up sleeping with the man, thus continuing the tradition of her mother (deceased) and grandmother (played here by Shirley MacLaine). This in turn ruins her relationship with her loving fiancé (Mark Ruffalo). I remember seeing the trailer last fall and thinking, "This is a great idea." I laughed pretty much constantly during that preview. Unfortunately, it contains most of the film's best moments. The actual film is more of a romance (or perhaps a better term would be "chick flick") than a comedy. It gets somewhat sappy, and the whole thing lumbers on and his never very strong. This is especially annoying, as all the actors are actually very good. Aniston proves once again that she is a very good actress (if only she could land some great material). Costner gives his second excellent performance of the year (I thought his performance in The Upside of Anger was perhaps the year's best performance from an actor). He was so mediocre earlier on, it's kind of cool to see that maybe he is just now hitting his peak. Mark Ruffalo is very funny, as is Mena Suvari, who plays Aniston's younger sister. And MacLaine's role is absolutely golden. She also had a very good performance elsewhere in '05 (In Her Shoes), but she has even more to do here and she flexes her comic muscles. With all that goodness, it really pains me that it's so hard to muster any enthusiasm for this somewhat lame film!