Case Number 23059


Lionsgate // 2001 // 91 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // January 3rd, 2012

The Charge

Destiny with a sense of humor.

Opening Statement

Serendipity is one of those goofy romantic comedies you just have to roll with and accept for what it is. The story makes no sense whatsoever, and it all plays to predictable formula. Yet if you like John Cusack (Say Anything) and Kate Beckinsale (Underworld) and can ignore major plot holes then it works just fine. They gel as a couple, even when the script is a terrible mess. If you're not a fan of formulaic romantic comedies, this might not be the right flick for you.

Facts of the Case

Jonathan (Cusack) and Sara (Beckinsale) meet up fighting over a pair of black gloves at Bloomingdale's. Aftering spend one magical evening together, they decide to let fate determine if they're meant for a longer relationship. Years later, both are engaged, but the prospect of that one perfect partner nags at them. Both Jonathan and Sara decide to test fate and see if they can't reconnect, before it is too late.

The Evidence

Serendipity is a silly movie that wouldn't be worth bothering with if not for its stars. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are charming enough as a couple to overcome all of this "leave it to fate" nonsense that tanks the story. He's quirky and she's cute, and that may be enough for some people who can ignore the fact that these coincidences and chance meetings are like believing in flying monkeys and toys that come to life at night. Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), and Eugene Levy (American Pie) all get cute supporting bits that allow them to work their own comedy style without regard to whether it fits into the movie as a whole.

Serendipity's Blu-ray is a nice upgrade in quality. The blacks are deeper and there's a little less edge enhancement in this high definition 1.78:1/1080p widescreen image than the previous DVD release, with vibrant colors that pop throughout. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix incorporates cityscape effects in the rear speakers while keeping dialogue front and center.

Most of the bonus features are ported over from the DVD, including a commentary from director Peter Chelsom which proves he took the film far more seriously than he should. There are five deleted scenes including an alternate opening that would have worked a bit better since it is a bit more passionate with the first date that sets up the story. We also get a twenty minute "behind the scenes" feature that ran on Starz, but is just a nice piece of marketing for the film. The production diaries are interesting tidbits on some of the problems the crew encountered, such as when the city was being fumigated for West Nile virus. The package is rounded out with a single scene storyboard to film comparison and the obligatory theatrical trailer.

Closing Statement

Fans of John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale who can forgive the film's mystical nonsense will have a good time with Serendipity. The two have enough chemistry you almost don't care if the film around them makes no sense. Maybe it was just stupid luck they got cast.

The Verdict

Guilty of not taking anything too seriously, even its own plot.

Review content copyright © 2012 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 88
Audio: 84
Extras: 92
Acting: 84
Story: 80
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)

* English (SDh)
* Spanish

Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Production Diaries
* Featurettes
* Trailer

* IMDb