Warner Bros. // 2005 // 97 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // August 2nd, 2007
Based on a true rumor.
Welcome to the DVD Verdict Night Court where we have the distinct displeasure of hearing cases of minor importance and limited appeal. Such is the case of Rumor Has It, said to be a clever and compelling extension of the 1967 screen classic, The Graduate, but ultimately seeming to be nothing but a minor disturbance that should be moderately reprimanded and ultimately disregarded. There's this morning's coffee still in the urn by the door. Please get some, if you like, and kindly be seated so we can get through this as quickly as possible. Thank you.
As the statement of the facts seem to indicate, this film's narrative attaches itself to the Dustin Hoffman/Anne Bancroft milestone from three decades prior. The record suggests the well known book and film, where one "Mrs. Robinson" willfully seduced and consummated intimate relations with college graduate "Benjamin Braddock," were based upon real events, those drawn upon by author Charles Webb. Normally, this sort of information would merely be of an arcane nature except an addendum to that record indicates one Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston, Friends) might be the natural offspring of the real-world Robinson/Braddock tryst. Having learned this "rumor" that her own grandmother, Katharine Richelieu (Shirley MacLaine, ) was the inspiration for "Mrs. Robinson" and her now-deceased mother might have been the template for "Elaine Robinson," Ms. Huttinger is tracking down the wealthy-yet-single Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner, Waterworld) to determine if he's the real-world Benjamin Braddock and if he, indeed, is her natural father. And, upon viewing the reenactment of these events, it's this court's opinion that truth is stranger than fiction and that the assertions presented must be fallacious as they spark little interest here.
Although the facts of the case appear compelling on paper, said reenactment does little to further the defendant's cause and actually borders upon contempt. The filmmaker, Rob Reiner (This is Spinal Tap), seems to have lost sight of the intent of the film. It appears Mr. Reiner has been unable to inject any sense of persuasive emotion that the events of Ted Griffin's otherwise intriguing screenplay would convey, leaving this court to behold a decidedly monotone recitation of the fantastic allegations. Normally, this court would expect to be piqued, provoked, and properly persuaded by such a claim but, in the end, could only recommend the defendant, Ms. Huttinger, seek more competent representation. Although she may have given her best efforts to impress this court with her on-screen allegations and even enlisted the partly compelling testimony of Ms. MacLaine, the result is less than impressive and certainly not conclusive that such events ever transpired. In the end, this is a rather banal attempt to sway this court's opinion and has proven to be a misappropriation of this court's time and resources.
Attempts to enhance the testimony by way of the Blu-ray high definition treatment are unimpressive. The transfer, a 1080p image rendered using the MPEG-2 codec, appears slightly more attuned than a Standard Definition mastering yet the production's bland production design seems to quickly undermine the defense's goals. As a result, none of the visual evidence truly springs forth to capture this court's attention or favor. The audio delivery of the testimony was easy to hear and generally well supported with some ambient musical contributions via the Dolby Digital 5.1 pronouncements but, again, there were no key proclamations offered to otherwise sway this court's assessment. A last-minute inclusion to the record came by way of the production's theatrical trailer but, alas, it was far too little to reverse this court's final verdict.
While this court appreciates the defendant's testimony and would typically expect to be better engaged by such a potent premise for deliberation, it is my final decision that Rumor Has It fails to sway a verdict in favor of Ms. Huttinger. I suggest she take better care in any subsequent petitions and the counsel that she would employ to represent her.
Night court adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Theatrical trailer
* Official Site