Remember when you were a kid at Christmas opening present and after present, loving each and every one for about 5 seconds before moving on to the next one? Remember the feeling you had when you were out of presents and you were all of a sudden bored and you just wanted the day to be over because there was nothing to be excited about anymore and god forbid having grandma come over to engulf you in her aura of cigarette smoke and pee was just not how you wanted to spend the rest of your day? Well if you don’t remember these wonderful times, you should watch Love Happens, which spits out touching moment after touching moment like a pregnant cat that you “awww” and want to cuddle every new and fuzzy thing that comes out of it, all the while ignoring the fact that you have one hell of a fucking mess on your hands.
Love Happens really should be called Death Happens as it focuses around Burke (Aaron Eckhart), a motivational hack that fulfills the role of cliché “psychiatrist that is just trying to fix his own fucking problems” with a seminar called “A-Okay” which helps the bereaved try to get over a loss. Much of the movie is spent listening to their stories and experiencing the little breakthroughs that lead to those hokey applauses and uplifting smiles which is all well and good but this a movie about Burke. Remember that or, if nothing else, at least tell the producers that.
In the midst of this is Eloise (Jennifer Aniston in another incarnation of Rachel), a florist who occupies Burke’s time when he’s not too busy listening to himself talk and though she’s designed to be the love interest who helps Burke move on from the death of his wife, she’s really portrayed as a friend who found a new pet that she wants to try out all her wacky ideas on. Though sweet and original in their own way, these simply add to the hokey applause producing mental masturbatory sequences that put smiles on your face but don’t actually really contribute to the movement of the story. They are simply there and when things start clicking into place for everybody, you don’t really feel that it’s deserved; it’s like taking a girl to dinner, making her laugh a few times and feeling that that’s worth sex (and no, the guy isn’t that good looking either).
This movie didn’t even have the decency to let you enjoy any of the damn characters, your first impressions of all of them is that they are sad bastards that you need to sympathize with; even Eloise’s first few minutes are spent breaking up with her rocker boyfriend (who could take a girl to dinner, make her laugh a few times and get sex. I just don’t understand women sometimes, but then again, for the reasons just listed, it’s probably wiser to understand a guitar). When it was all said and done, I didn’t feel better about anything, didn’t feel happier, and like most quacktacular motivational speeches, didn’t feel like anybody learned shit, but the happy-sappy violin music played on anyway, whisking us away on a cloud of hope and acceptance without making us feel comfortable that our cloud had any strength or density to carry us safely through the skies of oblivion. I’ve suffered through loss recently. Fuck you movie, that’s not how it works. For anybody.
Oh yeah, and by the way, this movie is about Burke. Did I mention that? Sorry, even I forgot at a point. Anyway, Love Happens just went nowhere and smiled the whole way through it thoughtlessly. Another possible name for it could be Love Happens Sometime After The Movie because there wasn’t actually a love story in here at all either. Like I said, Eloise was more a friend than anything, but it just doesn’t feel right to end that way, does it? So, of course the two are going to kiss at the end (spoilers…fuck, I’m bad at this) but yeah, breaks my romance rule because they couldn’t develop any chemistry together. We had to get to the next sad sap before we forgot what THAT story was because lord knows that’s damn important to the plot. The “romance” had as much value as a one-night stand and the movie quite literally wasted no time before saying “well, I have to get to work! This was fun, I’ll call you…”
So much was wrong with this movie, it’s difficult to put it all together in a few paragraphs. Shit, I didn’t even mention the parrot and the in-laws and Seattle but fuck it, it’s not worth it. It didn’t mean anything, nothing did and this movie was certainly NOT A-Okay. I give it 5 dustbusters out of 10 for sheer lack of being a movie and more a string of infomercials glorifying assholes who think that there’s universal rules to grieving, one of which being “everyone grieves in their own way.” Screw you hypocritical bastards, lemme know if that trick works while you’re mourning the loss of your film career.